To Xue JunShan, life is like his chess playing, gather his boys, pop an addictive stimulating betel nut like it is harmless chewing gum, have some mindless fun, take it as easy as can be but never not on the alert of planning and thinking all the next steps in the life he has a clarity of designing for himself and his family. Most of the time XJS wins, having faith with his bff: luck, if it does not go his way, shamelessly badgers and smiles and fights for another chance… let luck strikes again on top of spinning his shrewdest mind harder.
That is the same way he is living in the front line as the leader of his pack. He will live life as a soldier seemingly like the Chinese uncles chess playing and socializing in the park down the street in 2014 but just under the skin he is still the very shrewd survivor making himself a living since he was a 12 year old boy, playing to his strength being so good with people and always gambling on luck. He is surviving army life like a walk in the park, not just surviving but doing very well, like the army base is his old hood in CS, making friends, laughing with his boys over games of chess, betting a few bucks, a few bags of betel nuts, crack a few jokes even at the expense of GCM, time and days go by bearably even when his wife, his family never leaves his mind, missing them dearly. We are sure all the guys under his command would say living army life the XJS way is easier than fearing for their lives. We have seen him preparing quite meticulously for his family, everything he can do whatever it takes just in case war hits, but if you ask this charismatic thug, he is still betting and wishing on the war never hitting CS as bad, they would never really be in the line of fire, they will be lucky, because if they are not, this is hell, and there is nothing a XJS can do about hell. But XJS never puts all the eggs in a basket of luck, he has a basket for everything, mind always spinning, making all the friends he could, sharp with using every bit of his resources to the fullest just to ensure survival and be prepared for the worst constantly. That is why a God’s gift big fish GCM willingly approaching him, gifting him a bag of the best betel nuts is like a pillow falling on his lap from nowhere just when he wants to shut eye. It is interesting reading betel nuts is still a very popular token for socializing and networking in Changsha.
Don’t leave, I have something to talk to you….about my sister in law!
Not giving XJS the stink-eye on top of the bag of the best betel nuts, GCM has a ‘favor’ to ask, more like an order, sweet slap in the face I know you are being notty: gets Hu XiangPing out of the army. XJS truly does not realize XP is in the army but he can sniff trouble right away, putting himself on the very bad side of the Hu clan, but as he is scrambling off to straighten things out, he is not one missing a chance when it is falling on his lap. He will cease any day matchmaking his XX and GCM until he can carry her in all fours to Gu’s bedchamber if he has to.
Gu trusts the cunning fox XJS would never risk his family for a measly amount from trafficking, he watches on the charade XJS feigning innocent yet allowing shady businesses under his nose, exactly like how he runs his social strata in CS. XJS knows he needs to play dumb, this is a smart young gun, bringing this to him analyzing this is the most effective solution and GCM is also giving him a fair warning he knows what XJS is up to, Gu is actually looking out for him from getting into trouble.
If you come to me, I would have taken good care of you….
…It’s nothing, it’s nothing,
commander Gu is always strictly abiding by the rules, but he is a very nice guy.
It’s nothing, don’t worry!
It’s nothing, don’t worry. XJS’ favorite lines and his ammo, it does speak the truth and works magic like his own lucky charm.
But XJS always run his show, and if he can hit two birds with one stone, or better yet three, he would never waste the second. With much more practical/savvy/jaded a world view than GCM, and with his experience and eternal migraine dealing with two ‘evil spawns’ at home, he knows how to manipulate kids, discharging XP will only push the boy to be more desperate, it is safer to keep him under his protection. He is his BiL nonetheless, we can judge him all we like as an amoral guy, but he is brilliant and experienced at the role of being a big brother. Of course XJS will not put his every thought on the sleeves, giving GCM the slightest chance to smugly knock down his plan. The master at game, he drops the hint of the parallel of GCM and his dad, reminding Gu how his dad has been futile at the job Gu is exactly doing, but the older wiser seer can let GCM have his way but still hold the rein of never allowing his only son in harm’s way. Why not model after your old man, is what XJS is trying to worm into GCM’s bright mind.
When the princeling is still being smug and strict, he moves in spelling it out bluntly, if you will shave you brain in order to enlist, why can’t my younger BiL be a soldier?! tying it in a bow of a very very cute wink.
Two lions in the same cage, XJS moves in for the KO showing whose turf this is, serving Gu his smug medicine: offering him the best betel nuts in town he just gifted him. Prince Gu does not want to see XJS’ face atvm, he puffs up a veil of smoke. lol like all love/hate bickering CP.
XJS is going to make the very best use of time with GCM. If it were the days where they have weibos, wechat… I am sure he has been pinging shipper notes with Mookie or else why are they saying the exact identical thing: XX has a hot temper, but she is so passionate, loving to her family.
If someday she marries you, ok?! Just saying, just saying.
When she marries you in the future,
if anyone dares to say half a bad word about you,
she would chop the dude , cleaver in hand.
lol Without blinking much at the outrageous claim of XX marrying him, GCM only is fussing about his ego if he allows a/his woman to risk her life for him waving a cleaver chopping up some dude. BiL, let me tell you something you do not know, this poor fellow really did ask XX to marry him, in front of the very formidable Grandpapa, I doubt you won’t pee your pants a little if you had to go through such a proposal for your XiangJun’s hands. But it is not missing the hawkeye of XJS GCM forgets to pout about the matching up with XX. he immediately nudges the young guy to be on the move and gets what he wants unless he wants to force it like he did, ‘wanna force her to marry you at gun point?!’ And XJS won’t judge you, I swear.
lol XP is so cute in the scenery.
XJS is not done having fun, with XP as witness, if one day commander Gu becomes XP’s brother in law/husband of his younger sister (which to Chinese is subservient to your status in family), he swears he would do the trouble of carrying XX preciously on his shoulders along with XP to Gu’s house.
XP: What is going on with Commander Gu and XiangXiang?!
BiL: Who is Commander Gu, change it?
XP: Husband of my younger sister!
They see it as Gu huffing off shaking his head/鼻子不是鼻子 眼睛不是眼睛 (so pissed off he does not look human) at their teasing, but we know better…if fate did not intervene, this would all be true he would have married XX and have no problem being called ‘husband of my younger sister’ all they want, instead of just amusing fodder for XJS to publicly poke fun at.
Husband of my younger sister!
Seeing GCM needs to vent off some steam, BiL coodles him with a shooting game while flaunting how good his own aim is as a gunman (and cupid). Always so amazingly quick on his feet, he nudges XP to play along, let XP do the impressing of GCM, which will always be helpful in the army. XJS is scrambling the best he can in the ranks, but without the powerful family backing, there is a limit to his authority and how well he can protect XP in the infantry, this is where and when a GCM is extremely useful.
It is a waste of your talent…
ask your brother in law, he is resourceful!
-Do not keep haggling on the brother in laws, I have no relationship with you.
lol if you are a manga fiend, they are ShinChan and Tōru…Toru said the exact line to ShinChan all the time being his reluctant(not!) BFF.
XP, saying it with such an innocent conviction: Husband of my younger sister, we are family sooner or later, is giving XJS a very very hard time holding in the giggles.
XP has a serious question on his mind for commander Gu: With his very privileged background, why does he have to station in ChangSha, why must he fight in the front lines?
GCM shows them with his action: He is very good, extremely competent at being a soldier, properly trained and skilled at the gun with a deadly accurate aim… he can serve his country extremely well and be of the best use in the front line as a lethal fighter to the force. That is his vocation, his calling, what he is meant to be, and his country needs him desperately. Along that thought, GCM comes up with an idea.
GCM makes another phone call to his Father, this time asking for a favor not for himself, but for HXP. He hopes Father can write a reference letter for XP for the admission to the Air Force Academy. Why are you choosing a path for others, and not planning for yourself? GCM reassures his Father he has his own plans. He would be able to strive and do his best in Unit 5.
He is a brother of Hu XiangXiang, right?
Father Gu is not missing a hint.
It has been a year since the great fire, and CS is slowly picking up its feet, back to resembling some of its old glory.
A day in the Hu house starts with XX running late for nursing school, XM nagging her on, giving her a ride on the bike, bickering all the way. Grandmama bowl in hand, chasing after them, ready to spoon-feed her grown twin grandchildren if she has to, forcing them to eat. Dad leaving the house to the university, telling his Mother he would be very late helping out at the supporting effort committee for the war.
IT is not safe outside!
It is safer than having the japanese in town!
IT is so adorable GCM is gloating with the help of the cinematography who LOVES WH, giving him that perfect light, glow of an angel, bringing in a letter, his proud work. GCM could be jumping with joy inside, ‘oh how I must be impressing my BiL this time!’ I kid.
XJS’s face is immediately scrubbed of all his trickery, it is a face of utmost respect, bubbling with emotional of the patriot inside him…give it to GCM, this could be how they can win the war! Allocating the best fit to the best position, a war can not be won on bravery and brawn alone, they need the brains and strategy to modernize their force. XP being well read and smart, with proper training in the air force, he could excel and be a powerful resource to the country, gaining back the air control from the jap.
Beautiful men, beautiful scene.
After sending XP off, XJS thanks GCM from the bottom of his heart. This is a brilliant scheme, winwinwin on all fronts, sending XP off to train as a pilot, occupying him for a few years at something even better than his dreams and for someone like XJS, always wishing on the lucky side even when preparing more than everything for the worst, who knows if there is still a war to fight in a few years?! It will give the Hu family an ease of mind for the time being, and on top of it benefit the country in a fine young man for the air force. And to say the obvious, who is GCM fooling if he is not doing it because of HXX?! Gu still insists he is doing it for the Hu family who has lost two young heroes tragically, he really wants to believe that is the reason himself. XJS has enough of the beating around the bush, a man should love like a man. ‘ What is so wrong having the hots for our XX?! Why are you always weaseling around?!’ OK. GCM says ok, fine, alright…he is not weaseling around having feelings for XX anymore and he is fine with BiL poking fun at him, IF he will follow through with his promise. One guess, it must have something to do with a GCM at the front line.
Grandmama is making a chicken stew, a rare delicacy with life being difficult. XJ is pregnant! It is Chinese custom to not speak about the baby in the first trimester, it is believed to be bad luck, the baby may ‘rebel’, that can lead to miscarriage. XJ wants to celebrate it along with BiL’s safe return.
Lo and behold, BiL’s promise is to give commander Gu a tour of his scene. On route, GCM sees the soldiers following Xue’s order of picking up discarded guns, they are from the AWOL, it is very common, too numerous for the military court to handle. It is understandable, they are facing the feared 6th brigade of IJA who ravaged Nanking.
XJS is proud to tell Gu there are no AWOL under his command, he is the master at socializing and has been treating his soldiers very well. All of them is of a brave stock, having a fire in them to fight the enemy to the end even with nothing, a lot of them are so determined they are writing down their wills.
Surviving is the most important, you know?!
If you can win, put up a good fight, if not, run!
You are worrying there will not be another chance to fight the japs?!
He watches on, encouraging his soldiers to go on with writing down their wills except with XiaoDi:
What are you writing a will for? All your family is gone!
What do you have to worry about under my care?
Let me tell you this, you will be alive as long as I am alive.
Even when I am not around, you still have to be here standing!
XJS is of the old school, he can be chauvinistic and superstitious. To ease the nerves of his soldiers, he will coo them, encourage them in whatever it takes, but writing a will is bad luck and a sign of weakness, not for his dear XiaoDi, whom he is loving as his blood younger brother. I do believe XJS would rather sacrifice himself if XiaoDi is in harm’s way, especially when he can trust the young loyal guy to take care of his family in his place.
You are not writing down a will?
-I am a tough cookie! No need.
You do not know many vocabularies, huh? No big deal, piece of cake.
It is GCM’s turn to poke fun at XJS lovingly. If they have a friendly rapport/respect for the other hidden deeper down they will not admit it, they are showing the world they have become fast friends when they play and tease with each other so cutely!
This is the mother of all the best scenes in BoC I have spazzed about it within a post already, so I will save myself (and you) the time, but I have cute stuff to add.
I love how chummy and giggling Mookie and XiaoDi are, having the best seat to the show!
And this is the XJS we all fell for, loving his wife, his son, urging on his wife on his will to take good care of the older gens, and raise their child to be a fine man. The most honest words from the bottom of his heart. That has been his life’s motto he is also strictly adhering to, not just a prince of a GCM can have his honorable code of conduct and principles he practices.
Find a perfect suitor for XiangXiang following these pointers…
- a soldier, no infantry but a commander at least
- graduated from the top German military academy, lieutenant at least
- not talking about you, not talking about you, GCM!
- very good looking, with the appearance of an honorable fine young man
- from a very powerful family so (he can take care of XX and our family if I am not around…)
- Some one who can tame the shrewd in our XX. XX is a very good young lady…(omitting 1000+ words of praises of my dear SiL)
lol I enjoy WH’s pouty faces too much.
I Do not need to write it down, it is all in my head.
GCM never lies, it really is nothing that he can not ponder up himself.
When I get back, I will work up a complete copy for you!
But GCM has no intention to leave and XJS knows it:
Here here here! Sit sit sit SIT!
Opposite of Grandpapa’s dogma, GCM believes in Country/国 first, Family /家after. 国家 But BiL is making even more sense if dissecting the semantics 国家 the term has both country and home side by side…why can’t they save the country while taking care of their families?! He, a ruffian XJS, is doing exactly that. Why can’t a more capable GCM!?
And our charming BiL/ Ren ChengWei really did let WH touch his face under a plague with the word 家 on it. :~) So precious!
You are a fast learner in (my) ruffian way!
With a misfire, they are immediately on high alert. GCM reaches for his rifle in lightspeed. Since GCM is not budging, there is no way he is leaving, XJS asks him to follow him around, it will be safer. GCM is weary XJS would lead him on to the safest digs out of line of duty and refuses to tag along. XJS ‘gives up’ and designates a task of bringing along a few soldiers, check out the east end of their camp, there have been spotting of japs. XJS is his commanding officer on the mission and GCM salutes and obeys.
The path leads to the army kitchen instead, and the familiar cooks know the hazard of GCM too well.
And…the japs attacks!
Gotta love how they cut back and forth to historical footage with turning the screen of mookie’s back to black and white.
September of 1939.
IJA disguised as Chinese refugees, gathering intelligence from within
…breaking the defense at the New city wall and
is advancing to within 30 miles of ChangSha.
When the first fires break, XJS and XiaoDi are taking it lightly all smiles still gloating in the success of fooling a GCM out of their camp unscathed. He is no match for me XJS, not even in 20 years! And he has not marry XiangXiang! They would not have guessed how hard it hits them the next second.
Carried back to base in almost all fours, the soldiers are retreating, he immediately asks how XJS and his brigade is doing.
A new round of fire hit XJS and XiaoDi, 15th and 16th brigades are compromised. XJS ear is deafened by a shot gracing his brain, he feels his head, and just his luck it blows off his hat only. XiaoDi urges they should retreat, but they are all surrounded, there is no way out.
Another bomb misses him by inches. He really is a touch cookie, if he can say so himself.
All GCM can do is sit and be pretty, brooding, listening to the horrible news from the front line. IJA has taken control of BiJia mountain (if it is the same as the one on google map is it just a few miles NE of Changsha city center) The commander of the 18th brigade, the unit XJS belongs to, has sent a telegram 10 minutes ago: Our entire brigade expresses gallantly we are most fortunate to be colleagues fighting with you all. See you in next lifetime.
Am I dead bigbro?! Am I in heaven?
…Heaven looks nothing like this.
They are the only ones left standing, XiaoDi wants to run, but IJA is numerous, fresh legs, well fed, they will not make far running. Sharp and slick XJS thinks up a strategy of arranging the hats of their dead comrades with rifles aligned, puffing they have a much stronger force. Keep shifting positions like crafty rabbits with three holes to its den/狡兔三窟, they are fooling the advancing enemy to retreat, by fire coming from all over their trench.
GCM asks around amongst the retreating soldiers on news on the 18th brigade. There can not be anyone surviving the strikes.
Mookie asks GCM if he is really going to follow through with handing the Hu family XJS’ will, reminding his commander Gu the harsh reality it is better to be dead than to be handicapped, and worst yet to be MIA and under the suspicion of giving intelligence to the enemy, being a spy.
GCM checks out all the hospitals to see if XJS has been admitted. On the missing notice, a corner is turned up and we can see the last character of the name is Shan, perhaps of Xue JunShan.
It is nothing, just paying your family a visit and see how you are doing.
-Are we on that friendly a basis? *smile*
GCM urges her to get on with heading to school.
Is Grandmama home?
XX senses the ominous in his stance, if she was having fluffy thoughts for a moment GCM is here to see her, his tone and how he is asking to see the matron of the family snaps her out of it.
Grandmama and Dad express their most sincere gratitude for saving XX and XM in XiangTan. She invites GCM to treat their home as his, their doors are always opened to him to stay as family as long as he wishes.
In the words of the educated humble man, Dad is saying exactly what BiL is saying, please take care of my spoiled daughter for me.
There is no need to bend for her. You are an honorable man designated for greatness.
We trust you.
Sis has her gaze fixed on GCM even at the other end of the room, she asks respectfully if Commander Gu, being in touch with the news and army intelligence, whether he knows the whereabouts of her JunShan.
What will Gu Ching Ming say!?!??!?!
Our first gritty battle scene in the drama and what a exhilarating roller coaster ride with our emotions wrung about out of our control. The mindgames BiL and GCM plays with are so delicious, befitting two great minds at work even when one of them is as worldly as slick and the other still the idealist moral model of a fine young man who have the brains and read all his books and know all his strategies, but no field experience navigating the treacherous slopes of dealing with sly foxes like XJS. He is a fast learner though, and he is opposite of incognizant of every hint, innuendo and tease everyone is suggesting him left and right, but tenaciously he focuses on his priority in life, to serve his country and persevere once he sets a goal, never wavering in the journey. If GCM leaves the army and asks for XX’s hand in marriage this very moment, it is still a marriage of love of an ordinary man and his wife, but as BiL puts it, HXX has no use in a match with an ordinary guy, her match must be of the most worthy man and GCM has another push for him to steer himself never as clear towards his path, to prove his every worth. He never ever said a word he is against the notion of marrying XX, in what he aptly put, country first, then family, and when the topic of discussion is XX, XX and XX, he might as well spell it out, after the war is over, I will beg for XX’s hands.