Edited by Isalee
Bai Xinyu finally registered that his cousin had hung up on him, even asking him to stay in the army for the rest of his life. Momentarily, he felt an impulse to scream and wail. However, he suppressed the urge. Actually, with his understanding of his cousin, deep within himself, he did not hold much hope. His cousin had always been extremely decisive, and when he decided to be heartless, not even being related to him would help. According to his cousin’s tone just now, if they were seeing each other face to face, Bai Xinyu felt that he would have fallen to his knees right there and then…
The person working on shift at the office looked at Bai Xinyu as though he was crazy. “Comrade, are you alright?”
Bai Xinyu wiped away his tears and snot. “Do I look alright?”
“Fine, then go ahead and continue crying, I’m going out for a smoke.” The man finally could not stand this person who was wailing and crying, and so stood up and left.
Holding onto the receiver, the phone number of his home appeared in Bai Xinyu’s mind. However, it felt as though his fingers had turned rusty, and no matter how he tried, he was unable to dial the number. If he heard his mother’s voice, he would definitely not be able to control himself… Still, so what if he could not control himself? His parents had already heartlessly thrown him into the army, and they would definitely not allow him to return. This call, whether he made it or not, the conclusion would still be the same. In fact, if he did call them, he would definitely be unable to fall asleep tonight.
After hesitating for a while more, Bai Xinyu still hung up. At that moment, Young Master Bai suddenly accepted his fate. He knew that if he did not complete this military service, or if he did not cripple himself thoroughly, he would definitely not be able to return. From this very second on, Bai Xinyu decided to quietly finish up his two years of service, trying his best to follow the rules, to not get punished, and to avoid Jinx Yu. As long as he could leave this place with his limbs and body intact, once he, Young Master Bai, were to return to Beijing, he would definitely be able to once again become himself again, back to his beautiful life. He must, he definitely had to hold on!
After the call, it happened to be breakfast. Bai Xinyu was so hungry that his eyes were about to roll to the back of his head, and he hurried to the canteen and collected his food. Finding a corner, he buried himself in his meal. The people in the canteen were all new recruits who had just finished their exercises on the parade ground, and they were all very familiar with this unlucky soul who was running around the ground whether he was dead or alive. While he ate, he felt as though the people around him were whispering and quietly laughing at him. Applying his well-trained skill of turning a deaf ear to his elders, he tried his best to ignore everyone.
Once he was done eating, he returned to his dorm.
With how dejected he looked, his emotions were basically exposed to everyone. Upon seeing him, Qian Liang asked, “You called home?”
Bai Xinyu nodded.
Qian Liang patted his head as though he was consoling a puppy. “Aiyoh, just look at how red your eyes are. Is everything fine?”
Bai Xinyu shook his head. “Umm. I’ve thought things through. Next time, I won’t ever be late again.”
Feng Dongyuan laughed. “It’s not just being on time. You have to obey all the other rules too.”
Yu Fengcheng said coolly, “Why did you suddenly see the light? Was it when you called your saviour of a cousin, crying and pleading, and he rejected you?”
His words jabbed right into Bai Xinyu’s sore spot. Bai Xinyu insisted, “I plan on staying here properly. What’s the big deal? It’s only being a soldier after all.”
Hearing this, Yu Fengcheng’s tone turned colder. “You think that anyone can be a soldier?”
Bai Xinyu saw that there were many people in the room, and Yu Fengcheng would not be able to do anything excessive to him. As such, he replied obstinately, “Even if I can’t, I am one now. What can you do to me?”
Yu Fengcheng narrowed his eyes, then he started laughing. “It’s good that you’ve been enlightened. We’ll all help you become a good soldier.”
That laugh was clearly sinister. Bai Xinyu felt shivers creeping down his spine, and he did not dare to look straight into Yu Fengcheng’s eyes.
Completely unaware, Feng Dongyuan laughed. “Yes, we’re a team, so everyone will help you.”
Bai Xinyu thought, compared to Jinx Yu, Feng Dongyuan was basically an angel.
Chen Jing came in at this moment. “The half-hour break is about to end. Later, we’ll be revising the housekeeping duties, then we’ll be practicing our marching on the parade ground.”
“Squad Leader, Squad Leader.” Daxiong leaned over, his eyes bright. “When will we be able to get our hands on a gun?”
Chen Jing glanced at him. “You want to fire a gun?”
Daxiong nodded enthusiastically, anticipation written all over his face.
“It’s during the later stage of the recruit training.”
“In about a month’s time?”
“Around there. It depends on your progress. However, the camp commander has always had strict requirements for the new recruits, so it might be earlier.”
Daxiong was very excited. “That’s great! Once I get my hands on a gun, I’ll take a photo and send it home.”
Chen Jing’s face immediately darkened. “Were you paying attention to the instructor’s lesson last night?”
Daxiong realised that something was wrong. Blinking, he said guiltily, “I was.”
Chen Jing thumped Daxiong on his shoulder. “Go copy the code of confidentiality once.”
Daxiong’s face fell. “Squad Leader, I was wrong.”
“Since you know you’re wrong, then don’t repeat it again. Let me check it once you’re done copying.”
Peals of laughter rang out in the dormitory.
Chen Jing walked over to Bai Xinyu’s bed, pointing at it. “This is the blanket you folded this morning, right? It hasn’t been touched at all. We’ve left it just as is for you.”
Bai Xinyu looked at that blanket. He thought it had been folded quite well.
Chen Jing looked at him, then took out a ruler from the drawer, walked forward and measured it. “Just look at it yourself, see how bad it is.”
Bai Xinyu wanted to cry.
“I’ll give you another chance now. Demonstrate it for the whole squad, and refold your blanket.”
Bai Xinyu spread the blanket out and folded it again.
Chen Jing was looking at his watch. Frowning, he said, “It’s too slow, and not up to standards. Again.”
Bai Xinyu could only fold his blanket over and over again. As the beds in the dorm were bunk beds, he had no choice but to bend over when folding his blanket. In no time, his waist started to ache. Just like this, he repeated the action of folding the blanket ten times. Each time he thought he was done, Chen Jing would pick faults with how he folded it, explaining and teaching the squad. Bai Xinyu was very gloomy over it.
Finally, Chen Jing was satisfied with his last effort. “Not bad, it’s very clear that you’ve improved.”
Bai Xinyu swore internally. He had folded that stupid blanket over a dozen times already. How could he not have improved? It wasn’t as though he had a problem with his brains.
Chen Jing looked at the time. “Alright, it’s time to start practising your marching.”
The weather in Xinjiang was cold in the morning, freezing at night, and scorching in the noon. In one day, one would be able to experience all four seasons. Right now, the weather was starting to warm up, and the sun was slowly rising too. As they marched up and down the parade grounds, by the time it was nearing noon, everyone’s mouths were dry and they could feel the heat.
Bai Xinyu regretted not applying any sunscreen. His mother had prepared a huge bottle for him, afraid that he would get sunburnt.
While standing in formation, Bai Xinyu was very distracted. As long as Chen Jing was not looking at him, he would slack off whenever he could, and he spent the morning just like this.
Once they were done, Bai Xinyu felt as though his skin was about to peel from the sun, the heat radiating from within him. The moment he stepped into the canteen, he gulped down a large cup of water.
“Wow, there are big peaches today!” Qian Liang cried in surprise.
Feng Dongyuan said happily, “It’s true. I’ve long heard that the flat peaches in Xinjiang are very delicious.”
Collecting their food, Qian Liang first ate a peach, finishing it in a couple of bites, praising it as he ate. Bai Xinyu really could not understand how one could be so happy when eating a peach. He felt that while he was here in this camp, there would not be a single day where he would feel happy at all.
Batur happened to be sitting next to them. Seeing how everyone was enjoying the peaches, the child started introducing the peaches to them excitedly, even saying what was really good and tasty at home. He was very passionate, and his big eyes shone brightly. Accompanied by his awkward mandarin Chinese, he looked very adorable. Most people were not paying attention to his speech about the peaches, and instead just watched him.
After lunch, Bai Xinyu returned to his dorm. He lay on the bed, not wanting to move again. Having ran seven kilometres that morning, his legs still felt like jelly now. Upon lying flat down, he felt as though everything below his waist was aching to the point of losing any sensation, and unconsciously, he started groaning.
Feng Dongyuan was planning to climb onto his own bed to take a nap. Seeing how Bai Xinyu was moaning and groaning, he asked, “Xinyu, what’s wrong with you? Are your legs hurting?”
Bai Xinyu nodded, speaking aggrievedly, “It feels as though my two legs are no longer mine.”
“It turns into that when you haven’t exercised in a long time. It’ll definitely feel even more painful tomorrow.”
“Ahh…” Bai Xinyu said hopelessly, “Just let me faint away.”
Feng Dongyuan suggested, “How about I give you a massage? In the past, when my dad was around, his legs often hurt too. I’m quite good at it.”
“Really? Quick, come, come.” Bai Xinyu shifted in his bed. However, recalling that the direction he was shifting in was towards Yu Fengcheng, he paused. He sneaked a glance at Yu Fengcheng, and saw that the man was currently leaning in his own bed, resting. Yu Fengcheng gave him a sidelong glance, ignoring him as well.
Feng Dongyuan sat onto Bai Xinyu’s bed, rubbing his hands together. “It might hurt a little, you must endure it.”
Qian Liang and a few other recruits came over as well. “Ai, let’s all learn this too. Everyone’s legs are aching. Tonight we can help massage each other.”
Feng Dongyuan started massaging Bai Xinyu’s calves. The man looked quite thin, but unexpectedly, there was quite a bit of strength in his hands. With just one press, Bai Xinyu howled in pain.
Feng Dongyuan laughed. “I said that it’ll hurt a little. It won’t work if it doesn’t hurt.”
Bai Xinyu trembled. “How is this just a little painful? Dage, be a little more gentle.”
“Sure sure sure.” Feng Dongyuan decreased the amount of strength he used. Bai Xinyu still hissed in pain, but he could just about handle it.
Someone joked. “Say, with Dongyuan’s character, he’s completely suitable for a role as a wife.”
The crowd laughed. Feng Dongyuan was not angry, only scolding back as he laughed as well, “In your dreams.”
Bai Xinyu too chimed in with agreement. In the past, he had never met a man with a character like Feng Dongyuan, who was both gentle and meticulous, yet was not a sissy in any way. In any case, it made one feel comfortable being with him. He felt that to be able to meet Qian Liang and Feng Dongyuan in the army, it might be the only good thing he had right now.
Yu Fengcheng saw how the two people were chatting and laughing, and his brows creased slightly. He went over and said, “Dongyuan, let me learn from you too.”
Bai Xinyu’s heart tightened, glaring at Yu Fengcheng with wide eyes.
Feng Dongyuan smiled. “Sure. Actually, it’s pretty easy. You can just practice on Xinyu’s other leg. Don’t use too much strength, he’s afraid of pain.”
Yu Fengcheng smiled back. “No problem.”