There’s a big snowy mountain behind the Shengling sect. The top is covered in snow all year round. Shengling sect has a manor on top of the mountain called Fengxueshan (wind snowy mountain) manor. No one lives in the manor. It’s only used for martial arts purposes.
Shifu said that since he’s teaching me martial arts, we’ll do it at the manor. He said that the air there is better for practicing. But climbing a mountain is already a challenge for me. I tried for half a month, but there isn’t a time in which I reached the top. Often when I reached halfway, I would just sit onto the snow and won’t get up. Shifu will then squeeze my face; I’ll just look at him blankly. Finally, it’s always shifu, who’ll piggyback me back down the mountain.
One time shifu was really angry. He pinched me really hard and said: “You are doing this on purpose, aren’t you?! Is this training you or training me, ah?! Today, I’ll not piggyback you. If you can go down the mountain, then go down. If you can’t go down, then you can continue to sit here!”
After saying that, he left. I obediently sat there, from noon till evening. I then watched the moon climbed onto the mountain.
I was hungry and my legs were numb. The moon turned from one to two then to three and finally, it shook brightly. I closed my eyes, wanting to sleep. Just as I was about to lie down someone picked me up.
While cursing, that person cleaned the snow on my back.
I sniffed. It’s the smell of shifu, warm and clean like the first ray of sunshine.
I subconsciously clung to his shoulder in a warm hug. My head rubbed on his neck.
“Shifu, really cold.”
“If it’s cold, don’t you know how to stand up and walk?!”
“Before I was too tired to walk, then I was too hungry to walk and then shifu said I have to sit…”
Shifu was silent for a long time. Finally, he laughed: “You’ve become so obedient now.”
“I know that shifu will come back to me.”
I faintly closed my eyes.
“Can we not train like this anymore?”
I didn’t hear if shifu answered or not.
A bit later, I heard many voices. I heard a hoarse voice said: “Shaozhu, you…you were too reckless this time. You abandoned a five- six year old baby girl at a mountain. Getting a cold is nothing, but if she gets eaten by a beast…”
“Isn’t she lying here safe and sound? What are grumbling about? Just do your treatment!”
“I mean, if she gets sick or injured, aren’t you the one who’ll be the most uncomfortable…”
“Who is uncomfortable?! Go, go, I don’t want your treatment anymore, too talkaktive!”
When I woke up again, I was lying on shifu’s bed. Shifu was sitting with a lifeless face next o me. Seeing that I’ve woken, he pressed his hand on my forehead. He was silent for a long time and then took his hand back. He turned his head and said: “Really…really useless! Lying in bed for three days just because of a little cold. Hmpf…”
I still didn’t understand what he meant, but since shifu is unhappy, it must be because of something I did wrong. I grabbed shifu’s hand, afraid that he’ll turn away and leave like that day.
“Shifu, I’m sorry.”
“What do you know……”
He didn’t finish speaking, gritted his teeth and turned his head again to not look at me.
“Your body is too weak. After you get better, learn some basic martial arts first with the others. Later, if you can climb the mountain on your own, then we’ll go practice there.”
After saying that, he shook his hand. I still hold his hand tightly, not letting go. Shifu got a little angry: “Why are you grabbing my hand?”
“Shifu, don’t throw me away. Don’t let me be alone, cold and hungry.”
His expression turned strange. His mouth moved, but after a while did he say something: “Alright, I’ll not let you be alone again.”
He paused, turned unwillingly around to pinch my face: “Don’t you dare to put that pathetic look again. Don’t you dare to sell that shameful act again.”
Shifu’s pinch was too hard. Tears dripped down from pain. I was really frustrated. I don’t know what I did wrong to let shifu get so angry.
The hand grabbing me loosened. Shifu seemed really tired and muttered to himself: “If you were like this in the netherworld and in heaven…I wouldn’t have the heart to whip you.”
He kicked the bed in extreme frustration, gritted his teeth and said: “But! But…when I could just bully you……..you must be acting, you are acting, aren’t you?!”
After that day, I was really afraid that shifu will leave me again on the mountain. So I trained really hard with the people of Shengling sect. Learning what shifu called “basic martial arts”. I can finally climb the mountain when I was eight.
After that, I and shifu settled down on the Fengxueshan manor. He didn’t teach me anything else. He just gave me a sword and told me some formulas, I couldn’t even memorize.
Shifu resented me for being stupid; while he comforted himself by saying that I was still young. But in a blink of eye five years have passed. I’m thirteen and shifu is sixteen. He patted my shoulder and finally admitted: “Drinking too much soup of oblivion has let you become stupid…”
I couldn’t make out from the tone of his voice if he’s happy or unhappy, while saying those words. But he always says things I don’t understand. I’m used to it.
Today is the day to go down the mountain, to Shengling sect, to take food. I heard something I’m really puzzled about. I didn’t have the nerve to ask then, but now it’s only shifu and me. I asked heartily: “Shifu, are we harmoniously cultivating1 together?
At that moment shifu was drinking tea. Hearing my question, he spouted his tea. He raised his head and looked at me. His ears were inexplicable red.
“Where did you hear that?”
“Today when we went to pack things to eat, there were a bunch of people together, saying that the reason we two always stay at the manor, is because we’re harmoniously cultivating every day, every night, without pause and without rest.”
Shifu’s mouth moved. He repeated the eight words “every day, every night, without pause, without rest” twice. He pressed his hand on his forehead a rubbed it.
“There’s enough spiritual power at the top of this mountain. We’re just doing an ordinary cultivation. No, you’re too stupid to practice cultivation. I’m the only one absorbing the spiritual power, filling my body.”
“This isn’t right, ah…”
I felt pity, scratched my head and said: “Shifu, I heard them say that, that “harmonious cultivation” is a really good method to improve one’s power. It’s like no other; simple, convenient and the effect is really good. Should we give it a try?”
Shifu put his cup lightly on the table. While walking out he said: “This method isn’t suited for us. I’ve got something to do down the mountain. You go memorize the things I’ve taught you two months ago.”
Later I heard that the people of the sect were severely beaten that day…
That day I also met a demon. I can see some things that ordinary people can’t see. After thinking about it, it began after I learned the things shifu taughts me.
Originally I didn’t think that the things shifu taught was useful. But today, I think that they’re pretty useful, because marching into the manor’s backyard with a panicked face, is a big ginseng demon. He was standing next the hens, shivering in the backyard. A naturally fragrant pot of soup appeared in my mind. I stared at him, while my mouth filled with saliva.
I pulled the sword that can kill demons. That pretty ginseng suddenly went on his knees. Kneeling, he walked to me. He knocked his head three times on the floor: “Good girl, good girl, good girl! Help me!”
Those three cheers “good girl”made me feel good. It wouldn’t make a difference if I wait a little before making ginseng soup. I pulled him up and asked: “What’s the matter?”
Ginseng demon wiped his tears and sobbed: “I…I’m being hunted down by people.”
This demon shouldn’t know that I can see his true identity.
I nodded my head. My mind was thinking that if there are good things, I need to wait till shifu came back before stewing it to eat. So I answered: “Then you come in and hide for a while. My shifu has great ability. After he came back, he’ll surely help you.”
In the midnight, shifu came back. I didn’t have a chance to explain the situation to him. The moment he entered the hall, he frowned and asked me: “What did you bring here?”
I was about to speak, when the ginseng demon with a face full of grievance came out. He bowed to shifu and said: “I’m Nanpei2. Today I’m sorry to disturb you. I didn’t have a choice…”
He didn’t finish speaking. Shifu raised an eyebrow, sneered, walked to me and pinched my face.
“Nanpei? You really know how to bring people here, ah.”
Shifu pinching my cheeks has become a habit now. I didn’t resist, followed his strength and leaned to his ear: “Shifu, ginseng essence, is very nourishing.”
I said these words a little too loud. The ginseng demon instantly looked scared, took few mouthfuls of air and sat on the floor.
“You…you…are not a good girl…”
He desperately looked at us.
Shifu raised an eyebrow, rubbed my head and said: “Well, it’s rare that you’re smart for once, but…”
He glanced at the ginseng demon, curled his lips and said: “Eating vegetation of a thousand years will harm the yin side. You and I are not ordinary people. It’s better to let him go.”
I was shocked, pulled at shifu’s sleeves and said: “The hens in the yard grew too old…they’re all old.”
“So we can kill the chicken and eat it.”
I was not willing, but I couldn’t find a reason to rebuke shifu. I scratched my head and looked full of resentment at shifu. Shifu didn’t look at me. He glanced at the ginseng demon and said: “Go back to where you came from. Otherwise, if this girl eats you, I wouldn’t care.”
I gritted my teeth. I really want to rush to the ginseng and eat him.
“But…but out there, there are people who want to kill me. They want to make soup of me…”
Ginseng demon sat on the ground. While wiping his tears, he said: “I escaped for so many days, I’m really exhausted.”
“Someone dares to dig at my Shengling sect’s mountain?”
Shifu’s voice raised a decibel. I looked up and saw shifu thought for a moment.
“Alright, this young master (he’s referring to himself) just has a too good heart. Nanpei, I allow you to hide in this manor for three days.”
I kept staring at the ginseng demon. Shifu covered my eyes and dragged me to his room.
“I said not allowed to eat is not allowed to eat. I’m tired today. Come, massage my shoulder.”
I was accustomed to receive orders from shifu, but today I was unhappy.
“Shifu, ginseng soup with chicken is really nourishing.”
“En, I’ll let the cook give you a basket of ginseng another day. Love how to nourish and you can nourish”
“But that’s a ginseng of a thousand years…”
“Eating it will harm the yin in us.”
Anyway, he didn’t allow me to eat. I was very unhappy and didn’t massage shifu’s shoulder. I just went back to my room.
The moonlight shone into my room. I toss and turn in my bed, yet I couldn’t sleep. My mind is full of images about the ginseng demon and the mother hen together. Suddenly, a light flashed in my mind and I remembered something else. The people of the sect down the mountain said that harmonious cultivation is a quick method to improve one’s energy. Shifu said that the method is not suited for us. The ginseng demon became such a fine ginseng essence, he must’ve some cultivation. Should I just go cultivate harmoniously with him? Every day, every night, without pause and without rest, for about ten days. Then my progress will be quickly and shifu won’t say that I’m stupid anymore!
As I was thinking, I felt that I’m not as stupid as shifu usually says. I’m actually pretty smart.
The next day, I don’t know why but shifu went down the mountain again. I searched for a really long time before I found the ginseng demon in the firewood place. The moment he saw me, his face turned pale.
“Don’t! Don’t eat me! I can do anything! I can do anything!”
After what he said, I immediately laughed.
“Good, good. Let’s go cultivate harmoniously!”
The ginseng demon’s face froze or a moment. His pale face turned red.
“I I I I I have always been doing clear cultivation (meaning he’s a virgin)…I I I I don’t know how…”
I frowned. I felt that besides cooking this ginseng, he really isn’t useful. He looked up and glanced at me, seeming to know where my thoughts are going. There were cold sweats on his red face.
“How…however, I generally know how it’s done, if if ….”
The ginseng began to cry, looking really miserable.
“If you really…need, I’m willing to try with you.”
“En, then let’s try here first.”
Ginseng demon’s face turned white: “Here?”
“Should we do it in the hall?”
He was stunned again.
I angrily asked: “Why don’t you say where?”
“This, this is more suitable doing it in a room.”
My room is too small. There isn’t any place to practice. I thought for a moment. Shifu’s room is the best place. It’s broad and large and the air is good there. If something went wrong while we practice there, shifu will know when he comes back. So I took him to shifu’s room.
I and the ginseng demon sat on shifu’s table for a very long time. I don’t know how to cultivate so I just glared at ginseng demon. I don’t know what he’s thinking, but he looks like a madman. He was trembling and his face is red.
He… he must be getting into the right state, right?”
I copied him and began trembling and trying to get my face flushed. Ginseng demon asked: “You…what are you doing?”
“Copying you, ah”
I blinked and asked: “How do we start?”
He pinted his trembling finger at shifu’s big and soft bed.
“From… from there.”
I walked there and sat on the bed.
Ginseng demon also walked to the bed and sat beside me. He lowered his head.
“Then, then, probably, probably undress.”
I remembered shifu once told me that I’m not allowed to casually undress in front of others. But then I also remembered that shifu said that I shouldn’t treat learning martial arts as a casual thing. I was conflicted, so I obediently took off the coat.
Ginseng demon also took his clothes off, piece by piece. He lowered his head even lower. His voice was barely audible: “Continue…continue to take off.”
I obediently took my clothes off. I waited for the ginseng demon to take all his clothes off. Suddenly I saw a stream of blood streaming down ginseng demon’s face.
I was shocked and grabbed ginseng demon’s face. I saw that he’s having a nosebleed.
Suddenly, I heard the door made a “zhiya”sound. Someone opened the door. Shifu stood in the doorway looking at me. His brows rose.
“Shifu,”I yelled. “Something went wrong.”
Shifu walked at a very slow pace into the room and stood by the bedside. He squinted his eyes and looked back and forth at me and the ginseng demon. With a very soft but really scary voice he asked: “Xiao Xiang Zi, what do you want to do on shifu’s bed?”
I stared at shifu and seriously answered: “I was going to cultivate harmoniuosly with ginseng demon.”
Shifu took a slight step back. His expression was really strange. It gave me an unfamiliar feeling.
I wanted to say more, but shifu suddenly grabbed ginseng demon’s collar and dragged him to the window. Shifu didn’t even bother to open the window. He broke the window and threw the ginseng demon out, like throwing trash.
Very, very far, did the ginseng demon landed on the mountain. I don’t know where. Only the trace of ginseng demon’s nosebleed on the ground, is proof that he really has been here.
My mouth fell open in surprise and I looked blankly at shifu.
He turned. The cold wind entered the room through the broken window, making his hair messy. He looked at me and said in a tone that he usually used when he jokes with me: “Xiao Xiang Zi, your gut turned fatter. Say carefully again, what were you doing?”
I vaguely saw that something in shifu’s eyes isn’t the same as usual.
I didn’t care about the storm in shifu’s heart. I felt that no one in the whole world can understand the pain in my heart. I shook my head, stared at shifu and said tearfully: “You don’t let me make chicken soup, you don’t let me cultivate harmoniously, you even threw him away! Do you really not want to see me well?!”
I hugged my head and said hoarsely: “You do not hate Xiao Xiang Zi, you’re just in love with Nanpei ginseng demon!”
I heard shifu taking deep breaths. The thought that master no longer likes me, felt like the sky was falling on me. It’s so heavy that I can’t face the reality.
I picked up my clothes and began dressing myself, while walking out.
“Shifu doesn’t want me! I also don’t want shifu anymore! No ginseng to make soup with chicken, but there still mushroom to make soup with chicken!
Thirteen years old me, did the greatest thing I’ve done in my life. I, Xiao Xiang Zi, without dressing properly, ran out of shifu’s room, while crying, ran down the mountain, then….ran away from shifu (home).
Poor ginseng demon, victim of all of this. Now I really want to eat ginseng soup with chicken.
- 和合双修 (hé hé shuāng xiū): I couldn’t translate it literally, so I decided on harmonious cultivation, but the meaning in that sentence is sexually. I think the people of the sect mean that Chu Kong and Xiao Xiang Zi are having sex day and night without resting. Even if it is the great celestial Chu Kong can’t have so much energy (blushing). What are the sect people thinking?
- 男配 (Nán pèi): his name means male mate. Poor him, why did it have to be that name.
- 你走火入魔了 (Nǐ zǒuhuǒ rùmóle): the literal meaning is fire entered your demons. It’s a saying used when someone is obsessed with practicing martial arts that they get side- effects. Most of the time they turn mad. Xiao Xiang Zi thought the ginseng practiced too much and got a nosebleed.