Chapter 182: Having Meat in the Army (2)
When the three of them reached the cookhouse, the old army cook quickly brought out three large porcelain bowls and placed them on a small wooden table, which had four wooden stools placed around it. It was still dusk. Under the cover of the tent flap, which blocked the wind from reaching them, they could use the fading light to have a rough meal of army fare.
Captain Guo had his two assistants sit down first before pointing at the three bowls on the table. “It’s been a tiring day, let’s just eat!”
He Changdi and Xiao Hongyu didn’t stand on courtesy and picked up some chopsticks to begin wolfing down their food.
Today’s dinner was Chinese olive porridge with some cabbage thrown in. There were two wheat pancakes thrown on top of the porridge- and no meat. The porridge itself was simply flavoured with a little bit of coarse salt. Since it was the lowest quality of salt, there was a strange taste to it as well.
With this kind of food, they couldn’t be picky about the taste. They could only use it to fill their stomachs out of a lack of better options.
Xiao Hongyu finished off a wheat pancake in two or three bites. When he tried to swallow it down, it got stuck in his throat. He had to gulp down quite a few mouthfuls of the porridge before he could push that piece of pancake down into his stomach.
His face was flushed red from the exertion, and he stared into his bowl in a daze.
Although he looked as strong as a bull, he was younger than He Changdi by a year at only nineteen years old. He had joined the army just last year, and his family was also a military official house. Although his family had been strict with his education, he had never lacked for any sort of food ever since he was young.
“Brother Guo, Brother He, at every meal time, I really miss eating the meat that my mother cooked. Back at home, I still thought that that meat was too fatty and oily. If I could have a whole pot of it now, I’d finish it all up and lick it clean…”
Captain Guo found it funny and pointed at his bowl. “What’s wrong? You still have half your bowl left. If you can’t finish it, give it to me; I’ll help you eat it up!”
Xiao Hongyu quickly pulled his bowl into a protective embrace, just like a little puppy trying to protect its food. The others couldn’t hold back their laughter at the sight.
“No way! Brother Guo, I’m not done yet!”
“Hmph! Didn’t you say you wanted to eat meat?”
“But there isn’t any! If there was meat, who would eat this porridge or these pancakes?”
He Changdi held his bowl and slowly ate his meal. Although he ate pretty quickly, he didn’t look like a starving wolf at all, and even seemed to have an elegant grace in his actions.
It was just his beard that seemed a little inconvenient. Some porridge would get on it from time to time. He Changdi simply buried his head and ate his meal, acting deaf to the conversation of the two people beside him.
Right after Captain Guo and Xiao Hongyu finished talking, a man’s voice joined in, easy like a refreshing breeze. “Who says there’s no meat!”
“What? There’s meat?” Xiao Hongyu immediately stood up, his eyes almost shining red from his hunger. He hadn’t had a bite of meat for months now. Thanks to his excitement, his small eyes had grown wide.
The man who spoke walked over with an empty bowl. He was about as tall as He Changdi, but without a beard on his face. He was also wearing a lieutenant’s uniform, but he was clearly older than He Changdi by a whole decade. He was the third lieutenant under Captain Guo’s command, Zhang Mai.
Zhang Mai had been exempted from training today due to an old wound flaring up. After resting in his tent for half the day, he had wandered over to the cookhouse for dinner.
For some reason, the previously silent He Changdi suddenly froze.
Xiao Hongyu was practically drooling from the thought of having meat to eat. He quickly moved over to Zhang Mai, face sticking out as if he could smell the meat. He pleaded in a friendly tone, “Brother Zhang, you just said that there’s meat to eat. You can’t forget about your brother here!”
Zhang Mai smiled mysteriously before reaching out with one finger and pointing at the now rigid He Changdi.