Although he was in a good mood, Brother San was still in a tight financial situation. In the end, he took Gu Ning to the canteen for lunch instead of having it in the restaurant.
The army canteen at noon could be described as bustling with activity, with over 300 people gathered in a canteen.
At Gu Ning’s table, they had lost count on the number of people that had been deliberately passing by just to check out the legendary marksman. Some of them were too embarrassed to stare at her for too long, so they purposely circle a few more times. They were all shocked when they saw that Gu Ning was as young as the “legend” had claimed and she was a very feminine-looking beauty.
The soldiers of the Third Company felt so proud while expressing their sincere admiration for Gu Ning’s ability to remain calmly eating her meal without looking away under such intense scrutiny.
Brother San suddenly broke the silence: “Gu Ning, I’ve noticed that it’s too much of a waste of time for you to travel here and there in the morning and evening for more than four hours. We have a building for families here, why don’t you let your parents know and then stay here for the next few days? If you’re afraid, I’ll have Zhang XiaoBai and the others to stand guard for you at night.”
Gu Ning considered this proposal from Brother San very carefully. The four-hour round trip drive was indeed a waste of time, and staying over here would be much more convenient. However, on her parents’ side, she would have to lie and muddle through—— Gu Ning couldn’t help but hesitate a little.
“That’s right Gu Ning, you need to put all your heart and soul into the training now. It’s fine if we got abused by you, but the Five Stars Brigade is more ruthless than the others, so you can’t take it lightly.” Zhang XiaoBai finished with a sincere face and chuckled dryly before asking: “If you have time, you can also teach me too. If we both join the Five Stars Brigade, at least we can take care of each other, right?”
There was a chorus of agreement from the soldiers of the Third Company, all were eager to make Gu Ning stay.
Gu Ning hesitated for a moment, then replied: “Actually, I told my parents that I’m working as a tutor, and I didn’t tell them what I was doing in the army now.”
Brother San was stunned for a moment and said: “That’s okay, pass me your parents’ number and I’ll talk to them.” As he said that, he pulled his mobile phone out of his pocket and continue: “Gu Ning, please don’t be offended, I’ve already gathered all the information about your family. All your family background, I had already gone through. Believe me, I can handle your parents.”
It seemed that she had been investigated to the fullest, Gu Ning didn’t feel uncomfortable at all as she fully understood that this was a normal procedure. Yet after careful thoughts, she still replied: “Give me some time to consider it, I will give you an answer tomorrow.”
Brother San also understood Gu Ning’s concerns and put his phone away while the conversation switched to the topic of training: “I’ve received news last night that the Five Stars Brigade had arrived in Jinyong a long time ago, and now they are nestled in a hotel. According to reliable sources, the group of people who are coming this time is not the same as those who came last time. Also, the people who are coming this time seem to have an important person from the Five Stars Brigade.” He paused and glance at Gu Ning with some solemnity: “This also means that probably this year will be even harsher than the previous years.”
In a heavy silence, Zhang XiaoBai suddenly came over and chimed in: “Company Commander, where on earth did you get the reliable information? It’s not a deliberate attempt to scare us, is it?”
Brother San pressed Zhang XiaoBai’s face back to his seat, then continued to explain to Gu Ning: “Although I have faith in you, those people from the Five Stars Brigade…… I can only say that they are really powerful, beyond what you can imagine. Not to mention that the ones who are here this time are the big shots in the Five Stars Brigade.”
Zhong Xu said with a solemn expression: “The group of them that weren’t even important last year were already beating us up.”
“And last year the group didn’t look straight in other people’s eyes. They had their eyes up in the sky and were so arrogant and proud. This year there are important people, so they might be some snob as well.” Luo Long said.
Brother San continued indifferently: “Last year, there was a soldier in the First Company who was particularly good at close combat, he used to be a top student in the military school. However, when he fought with those Five Stars Brigade groups last year, he broke his hand and spent half a year in the hospital. He went back to the military academy for postgraduate studies afterward.”
Zhang XiaoBai listened with a bit of fear: “You guys, please don’t bully me and Gu Ning for not knowing anything, they can’t be that ruthless, right?”
Zhong Xu glanced at him and replied: “You’ll know when that time comes.”
Brother San interjected: “So the next few days will be intense training, which is why I want you to stay in the family building.”
Gu Ning nodded solemnly then replied: “Well, I will seriously consider it.”
Brother San left and didn’t accompany them for the afternoon training.
Zhang XiaoBai mysteriously whispered to Gu Ning: “Gu Ning, do you know? Our company, including you, as long as one of us is selected to be in the Five Stars Brigade, then there will be a bonus of 100,000 for the Company Commander. The company will also receive another bonus, so if we both get selected, our Company Commander will be rich! Let’s make a deal first, later on, we’ll join forces to knock a big deal out of the Company Commander and make him treat us all to have seafood meal at a big restaurant in the city okay.”
Gu Ning was a little stunned, while in her heart, she had vaguely felt something was off with the Five Stars Brigade, what kind of organization was it? However, when she asked Brother San about it, Brother San only vaguely replied that she would naturally know after she had entered the Five Stars Brigade and that if she didn’t enter it then she wouldn’t need to know. In other words, she could only find out what kind of organization it was only when she entered the Five Stars Brigade.
Gu Ning felt a little helpless, not even knowing exactly what the Five Stars Brigade was and she just barged ahead. Yet in the post-apocalyptic world, everything evolved so quickly and she hasn’t developed her powers. If she was unlucky, there would be a good chance that she would never develop them, so close combat skill was what she needed to survive and the Five Stars Brigade was where she must go.
The afternoon’s intense training had Zhang XiaoBai and the rest screaming in agony, but Gu Ning was still fine. Luo Long was responsible for dropping her off after bidding goodbye to Brother San, she alighted the truck a block away from the neighbourhood.
It was already half-past six, and while it’s hard to see at this time of the year in the post-apocalyptic world, the sky was still very bright here and the streetlights were just coming on.
Gu Ning stopped in her tracks as she passed a shop selling mobile phones, remembering the instructions from Fang Fa, she walked in.
When she came out she was holding an old Nokia with a special price of 199, a phone she had used in high school and had a sense of familiarity with. After buying another card she sent a message to Fang Fa and Brother San. Then kept her phone in her pocket and headed for home.
The neighbourhood where Gu Ning’s house was located was a bit old, and in front of the newly built high-rise buildings, Gu Ning’s neighbourhood looks very old and worn.
Below her house, there was an old laurel tree that was even older than Gu Ning, and during this time of the year, the fragrance of the flowers was strong. A man was standing quietly waiting under the tree, wearing a light blue shirt, his jacket suit was resting on his arm, with a straight posture, and he seemed to have been waiting for a long time. There was a vaguely annoyed expression shown between his brows.
When Gu Ning saw Lu JiaZi standing there, she wavered for a moment, remembering that when she used to go to school, Lu JiaZi would occasionally wait for her under this laurel tree. That time she was just so happy to see him that she didn’t notice the impatience hidden between his eyebrows.
Gu Ning just stood there quietly looking at this man she used to like so much, her mood was a little bit complicated. She kept staring until Lu JiaZi felt her gaze and with an unconscious turn of his head, he was a little bit surprised to see Gu Ning standing there quietly: “Gu Ning?” Another smile: “Peeking at me?” Then the smile on his face was frozen by the coldness on Gu Ning’s expression: “Did something happen?”
Gu Ning shook her head and asked: “Are you looking for me?”
Lu JiaZi walked towards Gu Ning and replied: “It’s been a while since we’ve gone for dinner, today I’ve managed to call off a dinner party and I wanted to have dinner with you yet I didn’t know you weren’t home. I’ve been waiting here for half an hour, let’s go, let’s go eat then. I’ve booked a new restaurant, I heard it was good…… Gu Ning?” He took a few steps before realizing that Gu Ning wasn’t following him and he stopped in his tracks in surprise.
Gu Ning replied: “I’ve eaten.”
Lu JiaZi first froze, then strolled up to Gu Ning, sighed deeply, and then said in a helpless tone: “Are you angry with me? NingNing, I’ve been really busy lately, the company has a new project handed over to me and I’m really too occupied. It’s difficult to find time and I’ve wanted to have dinner with you, so just for the sake of me waiting for you for half an hour, will you go with me?”
Having known Gu Ning for over ten years, Lu JiaZi thought he knew Gu Ning very well. Although she seems stubborn and determined, almost everyone who knows Gu Ning knew that she was an extremely principled person and hates whoever was being late. However, he was special, he held a different meaning to Gu Ning since he was a child and Lu JiaZi was well aware of this and confident of it at the same time. Yet this time, Lu JiaZi felt that something was wrong. Instead of frowning and pretending to be unhappy, or complaining a bit before she would happily come over and take his hand. Gu Ning just stood there quietly, as if she was meeting him for the first time, and staring at him very seriously and quietly.
This kind of sizing up of a stranger suddenly gave Lu JiaZi a tug in his heart.
Just as he was about to frown and show his displeasure, he heard some words from Gu Ning.
There was just a gust of wind blowing by when he heard it, causing him to feel that unreal, perhaps he had misheard it? Otherwise, how could Gu Ning say such a thing?
She said: “I don’t like you anymore.”
For many years in the past, Gu Ning had never concealed her love for Lu JiaZi, and she even made her first confession to him when she was just sixteen. Even though her confession was politely rejected by Lu JiaZi at the time for the reason that children shouldn’t fall in love so early. After that, Gu Ning never said she liked him again, but Lu JiaZi always knew that she still held feelings for him. She also said that she didn’t like him anymore after he had his first girlfriend after entering university. They were walking in school holding hands when Gu Ning bumped into them when she was looking for him at school. After which, Gu Ning called and cried while telling him that she didn’t like him anymore either. Yet he knew that she still liked him, such a declaration of dislike she had made twice in total, both times after she knew he had a girlfriend.
On the contrary, it seems to be different this time.
He didn’t have a girlfriend now, but Gu Ning said she didn’t like him anymore.
Such a calm, cold, sensible Gu Ning, he had never seen her like this before…… Lu JiaZi suddenly felt that this face that had been constantly barging into his line of sight for the past ten years or so had suddenly become somewhat unfamiliar.
(T/N: This Lu JiaZi really took Gu Ning for granted…. geeeshh… Alright, thank you all for reading! Love ya!)