Edited by Isalee
Bai Xinyu shouted, “Fuck! Y-y-y-you, fucking let me go!”
Flustered, he yanked at his underwear while pushing Yu Fengcheng away. In the end, he could focus on neither task, and had to watch his poor Bai Jr. be exposed to the air. Bai Xinyu was almost about to cry.
Yu Feng Cheng shot a look at Bai Jr., laughing lowly. “It doesn’t look very energetic. Shall I help you out?”
Bai Xinyu responded hoarsely, “You fucking pervert, you mad man, you have an issue with your brain. If you dare touch me again, my cousin…”
Yu Fengcheng grabbed his neck abruptly, his original jesting tone changing. His gaze turned fierce, and his voice was cold. “Only knowing to look for your cousin after getting bullied. You’re already so old, and yet you’re still doing that?”
Bai Xinyu was frightened by how close his face suddenly was, and looked at him in alarm.
Yu Fengcheng pressed into his ear, speaking darkly, “On the floor below the instructors’ office, there’s a public phone. Go call that saviour of yours and ask him to take you back. The army is not a place for a wastrel like you to spend his days. Scram, go as far as you can, don’t stay here and drag everyone down with you.”
Bai Xinyu’s face was completely red. Yu Fengcheng was deliberately pressing down on the arteries of his neck, and despite the strength not being enough to suffocate him, he still had difficulty breathing. Although he had only known Yu Fengcheng for a few days, his fear of this man had already gradually been instilled within him. With how Yu Fengcheng looked so very savage and fierce right now, Bai Xinyu’s legs had weakened in fright.
Yu Fengcheng released Bai Xinyu, sweeping him with a disdainful glance from top to bottom. He took in Bai Xinyu’s quaking, cowardly look, and pointed at him. “I don’t care what method you use, just scram from here.”
He then opened the door, leaving without turning back.
Wind blew in from the open door, causing Bai Xinyu to shiver from the cold. He sniffled, quickly pulling his clothes on. While wiping away his tears, he ran towards the instructors’ office.
Compared to the Yu Fengcheng who teased him randomly, the Yu Fengcheng who revealed his undisguised disgust towards him was even more frightening. So what if he was a wastrel? In the eyes of his mother, he was still her darling. It was not his choice to come to a goddamn place like this, so why did he have to suffer through all this ridiculous nonsense!
Bai Xinyu did manage to find a few phones in the reception office, but many new recruits who were done eating had already swarmed into the room. Behind all five phones were queues of at least three metres long. Wanting to wail about all the grievances Bai Xinyu had suppressed to his cousin or his mother, he no longer had the vigour to do so after seeing these queues that sapped one’s energy.
Looking at the situation, Bai Xinyu might not get his turn even if he waited for an hour. He hesitated over and over again, and in the end, still headed back to his dormitory. He planned on returning when there were less people, mainly because if he were to hear his mother’s voice, he would most definitely cry, and Bai Xinyu did not want to cry in front of so many people.
Bai Xinyu returned to the dormitory despondently. The rest of the group was back, and when he entered, the originally noisy people all quieted down, watching him with wide eyes.
Bai Xinyu walked to his bed with his head bowed, not looking at anyone. He collapsed onto his bed, not wanting to move even a hair.
Suddenly, someone patted his head. “Get up. I just said this an hour ago, that one of the rules in the dormitory is that you’re not allowed to lie on the bed at all times except for noon break and lights out.”
Bai Xinyu replied miserably, “Since I’m not following the rules, kick me out.”
Chen Jing was silent for a couple of seconds. He then grabbed Bai Xinyu’s arm, dragging him up from the bed. “Stand up straight now.”
Bai Xinyu looked down in defiance.
Chen Jing increased his volume. “Stand up straight!”
Bai Xinyu recalled the “stretching exercise” in the morning. He was still a little scared by that, and so straightened his back. Looking up, he saw Yu Fengcheng seated on a stool nearby, with a book in his hands. However, Yu Fengcheng’s gaze was directed at him, and his eyes were still filled with ridicule and mockery.
Chen Jing looked at him. “You want to go home?”
Bai Xinyu nodded his head.
“Who here doesn’t want to go home? Batur lives closest to the camp, 220km away, and the distance between the nearest highway to his home is 80km. Do you know how long it takes to walk 80km on a dirt path? An entire day. He doesn’t have a phone at home. You all have the means to call home to your family, but can he? Other than in an emergency, the army will not make special arrangements to send him home even if it’s for celebrations and festivities. This 220km, even from the city, would take at least a 3 to 4 hours drive. So, despite living so close, he would not be able to go home for 2 to 3 years, and cannot hear the voices of his family. Ask him, ask him if he wants to go home or not.”
Batur tugged at his hair, his long eyelashes fluttering up and down as he blinked, and his eyes were a little red.
Bai Xinyu did not understand why the squad leader was saying this, but he felt rather uncomfortable about it.
“Bai Xinyu, what were you doing at 16? You’re 6 years older than Batur. I’ve seen the files of everyone here, and you’re the oldest one in this squad. In these 6 years of yours, is wailing about going home once you’re asked to wake up early, run, and suffer a bit of a grievance the only thing you’ve learnt?”
Bai Xinyu as a person, in the words of his own father, was a useless, incapable prodigal son. He had an attitude of getting through life muddling about, as in any case, his family had no lack of money. Every day, he would enjoy himself, indulging in life, and never thought that any of this was bad. Instead, he felt that he deserved all of these, as he had the fortune of being born in the right family. Although his parents and his cousin often scolded him, he had long since been well-trained into becoming an impregnable fortress. Whatever they said would enter one ear and leave from the other, and he would carry on in his usual manner. Sometimes, Bai Xinyu did feel that he no longer had any shame left within him, and was even proud about it. However, the words from this cold-looking squad leader, a year younger than him, made his face burn, and the watchful eyes from those in the dormitory caused cold sweat to break out on his back.
Chen Jing adjusted his glasses. “I’ll like to go home too. When I think about going home, my parents would ask me what I’ve been doing in the army. I’m able to list everything out, and not just shamelessly ask others to ‘kick’ me out!”
Bai Xinyu closed his mouth, remaining silent. He was embarrassed, yet he could not accept this scolding, and was filled with resentment towards how Chen Jing had left him with no dignity. Why was he so unlucky today? Today was the official first day of him entering the army, and yet, he was first covered with porridge because of Yu Fengcheng, then he was threatened, and now, the squad leader was criticising him after he returned to the dormitory. This place was completely in conflict with his astrology! It completely clashed with him! If he continued staying here, he was bound to shorten his lifespan by half.
Chen Jing saw how Bai Xinyu was still very resentful, and he sighed internally. “Think and reflect upon yourself properly. Now, everyone, stand up. I’m going to teach all of you how to fold your blankets.”
Bai Xinyu felt down. He muddled through the entire session, and did not pay any real attention. He kept thinking about his tragic circumstances, and worried about how he was going to live his life for the rest of the time here.
After demonstrating the technique to everyone, Chen Jing got them to divide themselves into groups to practise.
Qian Liang and Feng Dongyuan hurried over to Bai Xinyu. Qian Liang nudged at Bai Xinyu who had his head lowered. “Hey, are you alright?”
Bai Xinyu shook his head, not wanting to deal with anyone.
Feng Dongyuan spoke quietly, “Don’t be upset anymore, the squad leader did it for your own good. Actually… actually the squad leader’s not wrong. If you’re too pampered, you won’t be able to survive this place.”
Bai Xinyu wrenched his head up, his tone furious. “You’re despising me for being pampered as well?!”
He thought that only Qian Liang and Feng Dongyuan did not look down on him, but who knew that this was they thought about him?
Feng Dongyuan quickly replied, “Don’t be angry, that’s not what I meant. I just… I wish everyone would do well here. If you really hate this place, how are you going to survive? Why don’t you change your attitude instead?”
Bai Xinyu snorted. “Unless I’m possessed, it’s impossible for me to like this damn place.”
Qian Liang frowned. “Take things as they come. Don’t you understand this concept? You’re just making things worse for yourself, and no one will be able to help you.”
Bai Xinyu looked down indignantly, shaking out his blanket forcefully as though there was great enmity between the blanket and him. He looked around and saw Yu Fengcheng right next to his bed, deftly folding his blanket up. Bai Xinyu’s heart was churning with hate; he felt that this jinx was the source of more than half his misfortune.
Yu Fengcheng seemed to register the burning gaze on his back, and jerked his head around.
Alarmed, Bai Xinyu hurriedly lowered his head. He was truly afraid of that jinx, and there was no cure for it.
Yu Fengcheng’s lips curled up in a smile. “What are you looking at?”
Bai Xinyu pretended that he did not hear him. He continued folding his blanket as he looked downwards.
“That’s wrong.” Yu Fengcheng grabbed his hand. “You didn’t watch the demonstration, right?”
Bai Xinyu gnashed his teeth. “There’s no need for your bother.”
Yu Fengcheng lowered his voice. “What a pity. If you remain here and refuse to leave, there’ll be so many more chances for me to ‘bother’ you.”
Bai Xinyu trembled, too upset for even tears.
With a smile, Yu Fengcheng patted his shoulder, speaking warmly. “Don’t worry, I’ll teach you how to fold it.”