Before leaving, Xia Jinyuan wrote and sent a letter to Ye Jian’s school with the hope that she would receive it when school started.
Leaving without saying goodbye… the little lass may be used to doing things like that. But, he didn’t want to follow her tactics.
His letter arrived two days before school started. After returning to the mountains and reaching the troops, Ye Jian spent the rest of her days familiarizing herself with guns and sparring. She also didn’t lag behind in the daily march and training. By the time she raised her head from the targets, the days had passed like flipping the pages of a book, and the day for her to report at her school arrived in the blink of an eye. She had to welcome the start of her Year 3 life.
She was very reluctant to leave the troops, causing all of the soldiers there to laugh with joy, all of them teasing Ye Jian as if she were their little sister.
By the time she left, it was already noon; dozens of people gathered to send her off. The group was so eye-catching that the regimental commander started bellowing in laughter.
He told the political commissar, “That little lass, she’s a natural soldier, you wouldn’t even realise that she was a lady. She cut off her silk-like hair as she said she would for training. Now, she looks almost the same as a young boy.
He paused for a while, then added, “It’s just that her skin is still quite pale. She’s been under the sun for around ten to twenty days, why haven’t I seen her skin tan?”
“If a little girl like her actually gets tanned like charcoal, she would probably cry.” The political commissar started laughing loudly. There were no female soldiers amongst the troops. Even the medics were big burly men. Since Ye Jian’s arrival, she had had an effect on the places Yin and Yang balance.
Although it was common knowledge that irrelevant people were not allowed to wander about military bases, Ye Jian was different. Even the Military department has her in their sights. After catching word of her presence there, they contacted the base immediately and asked them to give her proper guidance.
The little lass had a good temper and could endure hardships like it was nothing. She was like a bar of gold; as soon as she entered the troops, she would shine no matter where she went.
For such a wonderful asset, any and every unit would open their arms for her and welcome her arrival.
The dozen days she spent there had gone by very quickly. One could see how reluctant the group of soldiers were to see her go. It wasn’t just the soldiers: even a political commissar like himself was quite reluctant as well.
They escorted her directly to the camp gates. Only then did the soldiers who were not allowed to leave, pass Ye Jian’s luggage back to her and patted her shoulders gently as if they were sending away a battle comrade. They said with a smile, “Come back on the weekends! In autumn, there are quite a number of wild chickens. We’ll cook some behind the commander’s back!”
“Ok, then I’ll bring back bags of cumin powder. After cooking it through and sprinkling cumin powder over it, it’ll be delicious!” Ye Jian, who had her hair cut the moment she joined up with the troops, revealed her delicately perfect facial features. Her black pupils were like shining stars shimmering under the sunlight, and the smile she wore on her face was as bright as the morning sun. “Please wait for me, I’ll see all of you on Saturday morning!”
Compared to the vibrant life outside, Ye Jian loved this thrilling place far more.
After walking out the gates, she looked back and gazed at the men dressed in army green. Their bodies stood tall, as if they were about to merge with the mountains. The corners of her eyes curved up into a smile. The row of men stood as straight as pencils, like rows of pikes planted at the camp gates. Even when it was time to rest, they would always be ready.
In the troops, the sentence they repeated the most was, “Feed an army for a thousand days to use them for an hour of crisis.” The topic that they discussed most frequently was the protection of their motherland.
No matter which era it was, the rows of green silhouettes would forever be “the cutest people” of their generation!
She left the troops at noon and was on the bus from the village heading towards the town in the afternoon. Everyone on the bus were either fellow villagers or acquaintances from nearby villages. Everyone was spoke comfortably in their own dialects by the time they reached the village.