Little Poplar, Chapter 18: Nobody wants to feel so useless

Little Poplar《小白楊》Xiao Bai Yang

Little Poplar, Chapter 18: Nobody wants to feel so useless

As the whites of the sky turned white in the east, a large number of recruits slowly ran back to the yard. Chen Jing looked at the time and said: “Fengcheng, you guys go ahead, don’t really make the whole squad run again.”

Yu Fengcheng nodded, he gave Bai Xinyu a complicated look and a few able-bodied soldiers started running away at a faster pace.

By the time Chen Jing and Bai Xinyu ran back to the playground, it was apparently over 30 minutes early and they were the only two late arrivals from Third Class.

Bai Xinyu stood wobbling, his nose was sore, he wanted to cry so badly, his legs were breaking, he couldn’t come back in time, he was the only one in the company who couldn’t run, he was the only one, for a month, while the other soldiers were trying to get used to the physical training, gradually improving, he was the only one who was slacking off, muddling along, stepping on the passing line and as a result… Xu Chuang did a little training and the results were immediately apparent.

Xu Chuang walked over with his hands behind his back, his eyes landing on Chen Jing, “What’s wrong with you?”

“Report to Company Commander, I’m his Class Leader.”

“Crap, I didn’t know you were his Class Leader?”

“Report to Company Commander and I promise him, if he tries to run the whole course, even if he’s late, I’ll run the extra five kilometers instead of him.”

Xu Chuang narrowed his eyes, “Did I say yes?”

Chen Jing lowered his head and whispered and said: “Company Commander, do me a favor, he’s liable to get in trouble if he runs another five kilometers.”

Xu Chuang glared at him and with a wave of his hand, “Run!”

“Yes!” Chen Jing saluted and began to run around the track of the playground.

“Class Leader….” Bai Xinyu took two steps after him but his legs felt weak, he had a choke in his throat but he couldn’t say “I’ll run by myself”, he could barely stand up now, he looked at Chen Jing’s back, filled with guilt and guilt, the whole class was looking at him… his face burned with that scathing gaze and he didn’t dare raise his head.

Xu Chuang called for a dismissal, no more exercises until breakfast, everyone can go back to rest but no one from Third Class left, they chased after Chen Jing and persuaded him, “Class Leader, Company Commander left, let’s be nice, go back to rest. Bar.”

Chen Jing gave him a look, gasped and said, “You can’t fool Company Commander, can you fool yourself? How’s that for a pimple on your heart for a mere five kilometers?” He had folded up his glasses and put them in his pocket and his face, which was suddenly several years younger, was covered with a thin layer of sweat and his pursed lips made him look particularly stubborn.

   Bai Xinyu was too tired to keep up with Chen Jing’s pace and had to walk in an inner circle.

“Hey, you guys need to stop talking to Class Leader, he’s panting.”

Chen Jing and said: “It’s okay, ten kilometers is nothing.”

Liang Xiaomao said coolly and said: “There’s only one failure in the whole company and that’s in our class, so how hard is it to make 5 km? How hard can it be?”

“Xiaomao.”  Xu Zhaoping pushed him, giving him a wink, “Forget it.”

Liang Xiaomao deliberately raised his voice, “I tell you what? I heard Class Leader is a top soldier in the artillery company, just promoted to sergeant and his performance is very important to him.”

Chen Jing’s voice sunk a little, “Liang Xiaomao, you go back and rest.”

Liang Xiaomao gave Bai Xinyu a blank look, turned around and walked away.

Bai Xinyu kept his head down and didn’t say anything.

Feng Dongyuan quietly pushed him, “Don’t take it to heart, it’s only been a month of training, you’ll catch up.”

Yu Fengcheng said coldly and said: “With his attitude, he won’t pass even if you give him a year. Today you have Class Leader running in your place, who’s going to take your test tomorrow? Bai Xinyu, you’d better go to the cooking class.”

Chen Jing was too far away to hear but all the new recruits around him heard it. Yu Fengcheng was absolutely right, Bai Xinyu was not only dragging down their class’s performance but also Chen Jing’s. Although Chen Jing was humorless, she was capable and righteous and had high prestige in the class, at best they look down on him, they don’t say anything but today it’s a public outrage and they’re all pointing fingers at him.

Bai Xinyu was squeezed all over and a strong sense of shame lingered.

After all, Chen Jing had been a soldier for two years and after the 10km run, except for a bit of wheezing, he was still stable. The Third Company followed him back to the dormitory and Bai Xinyu walked at the end of the line.

Back at the dorm, Bai Xinyu dawdled over to Chen Jing’s bedside, whispering and said: “Class Leader, thank you.” If Chen Jing hadn’t run that 5K for him, he would have died in the playground.

Chen Jing took off his sweaty blouse and wiped his sturdy body with a towel, “You’re welcome, you were a little stronger than I thought you’d be today.”


“Really, at least you’ve been trying to catch up. Sure, it’s a little better but compared to yesterday, you’re not even close to the whole squad, no, the company, not even close. You’ve been slacking off and I’ve turned a blind eye and you know why?”

Bai Xinyu kept his head down and didn’t say anything.

“It’s not that you’re barely qualified, that’s why I’m not talking about you but I’m waiting for the day.” Chen Jing jabbed him in the shoulder, “for the day you find out for yourself the consequences of your slacking off. If this were war time and you went to war and got shot and regretted not exercising, you’d be talking to the devil.”

Bai Xinyu whispered and said: “I won’t be lazy anymore.”

“Look at you. I won’t tolerate laziness anymore. The training will only get heavier and heavier, all your performance in the last three months, we’ve seen it, we’ve written it down, I know you don’t want to be a soldier but a man, a man, has to take responsibility for everything he’s done, even if he’s walked through a cesspool, some people do. You’re a soldier, a good soldier, a coward and if you think you’re worthy of yourself, you’ll continue to be a coward.” Chen Jing put on his shirt and looked at him skeptically, “but if you think, you can’t even look down on yourself like this, you’ve got to show some attitude, it’s not too late to try.”

Bai Xinyu clenched his fists, his eyes were confused and his mind was in turmoil.

With a wave of Chen Jing’s hand, “Go rest.”

Bai Xinyu bowed his head on the chair for a long time, then suddenly got up and walked out the door. Feng Dongyuan and Qian Liang were watching him, afraid that he might not be able to stand the shock.”

Bai Xinyu said: “Call my house.” He’s been here for over a month and he hasn’t called home once, except for his pique, some anger at his parents and his fear that he won’t be able to control the sound of his mother’s voice but now he thinks he won’t cry and although he doesn’t want to be a good soldier, he doesn’t want to be a humiliated soldier either, he wants to be a good soldier.

   Bai Xinyu left the dormitory, Yu Fengcheng put down his books and followed him out.

~Little Poplar~




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