Chen Dashan growled softly, “Did you forget what I told you? The Japanese are well-trained. You are not to expose yourself to the enemy at any time. Or else, you won’t be far from death!”
The moment that was said, a soldier beside them had his head blown apart. Blood splattered on Huang Ren’s face. When he saw a comrade-in-arms who he had been speaking to just moments ago die in a blink of an eye, Huang Ren’s mind went abuzz. However, Huang Ren was not someone who feared death. The death of his comrade-in-arms only made him realize the cruelty of war. This was not a drill, nor was it child’s play. This was a battle that determined who walked out alive!
The battles that followed did not happen as smoothly as he imagined. Although the ambush killed more than ten Japanese soldiers, they similarly suffered losses. Finally, they had to retreat and give up fighting.
When Huang Ren saw the corpses strewn across the land, he wailed loudly. Many of the people there were from his hometown. Years ago, they had joined the army together. All of them were manly, unafraid of death but in the end, no one expected such an outcome. As for what the Commissar said, he no longer heard it. He only felt Chen Dashan pat him on the shoulder.
The scene changed again. Huang Ren had fallen sick, and he was scrunched in bed.
Chen Dashan ran around and took care of him. He boiled water, dipped towels to help wipe off his sweat etc.
Huang Ren could not help but ask, “Brother Dashan, will I die?”
“No!” Chen Dashan did not even think as he answered firmly. Then, he added, “You won’t die with me here. Rest easy and stay put. I’ll make a trip outside.”
“Brother Dashan, where are you going? It’s raining”
However, Chen Dashan had already run out.
That day, Huang Ren did not see Chen Dashan. It was noisy outside. The Commissar had gone crazy as Huang Ren vaguely heard that someone had disappeared and that someone had taken away something.
Chen Dashan returned the next day. His face was pale, but he was smiling very happily. Huang Ren was suffering from a high fever. His vision was a blur as Chen Dashan patted him on the chest and said, “Punk, you are lucky and you are strong enough. You won’t die now.”
When Huang Ren woke up again, he indeed felt better. He ran over and patted Chen Dashan on the shoulder and said loudly in excitement, “Brother Dashan, I’m better! Ha! I won’t die!”
Chen Dashan forced a grin as his brows were tightly furrowed. When he turned around, all of that was gone. He berated him like an elder brother with the dull look he usually had, “Don’t act willfully in the future. Don’t run around when it’s raining. It’s difficult to treat a fever.”
“Yes, definitely! By the way, what treatment did you give me?” asked Huang Ren.
“Just some folk remedies. Alright, cut it out. I’ll go out and take a look.” With that said, Chen Dashan left.
Not long later, Huang Ren finally learned how Chen Dashan had saved him. He had sneaked down the mountain and entered the city. He risked his life to buy some medicine from a store. However, he exposed himself on the way back and was shot twice in the back. Thankfully, he was lucky. He would have lost his life if not for the men sent by the Commissar who dragged him back.
Huang Ren cried that very instant. He did not know how he could express his gratitude. All he could say to Chen Dashan was, “Brother, thank you”
Chen Dashan laughed in return, “Since you call me brother, I obviously have to protect you. Alright. Since you and I are both fine, isn’t that good enough?”
When Huang Ren saw Chen Dashan’s smile, he swore to protect Chen Dashan as well!
When Red Boy saw this, he frowned slightly as he said sourly, “Humans sure are frail.”
Fangzheng did not comment.
The scene changed as artillery shells rained down from the sky, blotting out the sky. It was unknown how many artillery shells had hit the ground as the mud was mixed with blood. Even the sky looked hazy from the explosions. Lying prone in the trenches were Huang Ren and Chen Dashan. They felt the ground shake under them as though the world was about to be destroyed.
However, they remained staring wide-eyed as they clenched the rifles in their hands tightly. They sat there motionlessly, waiting. They were waiting for the enemy’s charge after the artillery shelling!
Clearly, Huang Ren had already matured into a real warrior. He was no longer panicking or flustered. He was extremely composed, his eyes extremely firm.
Fangzheng stood in front of Huang Ren and looked up. He saw a tank roaring forward far away as explosive bangs filled the sky. The Japanese troops were about to attack.
Upon seeing this scene, Red Boy said in astonishment, “These are their enemies? Are they planning to use those crappy things to fight them? Are they fools?”
“They aren’t fools. They know what they are doing. But they have the will to continue in their hearts even if it means that they will die.” Fangzheng no longer had the composed and genial look he usually had. He looked up, his face looking solemn. His austere eyes had a sharpness to them.
Red Boy looked up and when he saw Fangzheng in his present state, he said, “Master, that expression of yours makes you quite like a man.”
Red Boy looked at the battlefield ruminatively, “I really can’t understand what they are doing. They should run. Why are they still staying behind despite not being the enemy’s match? Are they waiting for death? What’s more important than dying?”
Fangzheng remained silent. There were certain things that could not be explained since Red Boy lacked experience. Explanations were pointless. It was better for him to take in the situation slowly.
The flames of war erupted as there was a cry, “Comrades, let’s fight it out to ensure that the civilians behind us can retreat safely! Charge!”
All the camouflaged soldiers immediately stood up. Despite knowing that they were no match for the enemy, they let out battle cries fearlessly and shot out their bullets!
The suicide squad was lined up. They ran ahead with explosives in hand. The people in front were simply meat shields that blocked a round of firing. They sacrificed themselves and fell to the ground but bought time for the people behind them to launch an attack. As one person after another fell, sacrificing about seven people in total, someone rolled under the tank with an explosive bag in hand. Once the explosives were ignited, the metallic behemoth was stopped in its tracks after a boom.
When Red Boy saw this scene, he widened his mouth as he cursed, “This bunch of madmen that don’t care about their lives.” However, he subconsciously clenched his fists. Clearly, he was not feeling calm.
The battlefield was a meat-grinder. People constantly sacrificed their lives as blood dyed the mud and sky red.
Red Boy cursed softly, “Don’t these bunch of fools know how to run?”
“They are protecting their family.” Fangzheng turned back as Red Boy did the same. They began to fly high and finally they noticed a large group of civilians escaping far away. And in the battlefield behind them, there was a wall of flesh holding back the enemy! Simultaneously, Fangzheng saw many soldiers sacrificing themselves. Their merit would transfer far away, likely to their family. Some was transferred to their comrades. This implied that they no longer had any family.
There was constantly someone shouting, “Even in death, we need to block their barrels or grab their legs! No one is to take a step back! We are not to allow them to take a step forward!”
Red Boy fell silent once again when he saw this. He lowered his head and asked Fangzheng, “Is it worth it?”
Fangzheng returned with a question, “What would you do if your parents were in trouble?”