That night, shifu didn’t come back to Fengxueshan manor. For most of the night, I sat at the manor’s front door, while holding my knee. The cold mountain air felt like needles pricking my bones. My heart also turned cold.
The stars in the sky flew above my head. I stared blankly at the road outside of the manor, hoping that shifu will appear inadvertently, pinching my cheeks and yelling at me to go back in the manor to sleep.
But shifu didn’t appear. The one that appeared was Zihui. He put a coat on me.
“Go back to sleep, I’ll look out. When your shifu comes back, I’ll go wake you up.”
I stubbornly shook my head. Zihui no longer tried to persuade me. He sat down next to me. Together we stared at the long road before us.
“Zihui, why do you want to be my husband?”
Since there’s nothing else to do, I opened my mouth and said: “Even though I and the people of Shenling sect know each other so well, still no one wanted to marry me.”
“En, it’s probably because I like you more than I fear your shifu.”
“Why do you like me?”
Zihui paused for a moment and then said: “Guess.”
“I’m stupid, I can’t guess it.”
I put my head on my knees. I really want to sleep. Slowly my eyelids turned heavy.
I honestly said: “I always felt that there’s something strange in your eyes.”
The person beside me seemed somewhat agitated.
“Where is it strange?”
“I don’t know, but I think…in your heart you are probably not willing to be my husband.”
I closed my eyes. My head turned to a side, resting on a thick shoulder.
“Actually…if you are not willing, we can cancel it….I don’t force you.”
The person beside me didn’t say anything and I slowly fell into sleep.
(Actually, I felt that Xiao Xiang Zi isn’t so stupid here. She saw right through Zihui. She’s just simple-minded)
The next morning, I heard a “sha sha” sound of someone cleaning the floor. Confused, I rubbed my eyes. I took a closer look. It’s Zihui cleaning the stair made of stone, with a broom.
The air has a strange smell. I vaguely remembered the butcher once told me that this smell is called wine. It’s a wonderful thing, but the butcher never lets me touch it. He said that when a girl drink it, she’ll become crazy. Now, I’m a little stupid, but I’m still rational. If I touch that kind of thing and become silly and crazy, by that time shifu will really not want me anymore. So I’ve been keeping that kind of thing far away from me. In Fengxueshan there’s also no wine. I scratched my head and asked: “Zihui, how come wine has been spilled on the ground?”
Zihui looked at me, smiled and said: “Shifu just came back. Seeing us sitting at the front door, he slipped. A bit of the wine spilled out of the jar in his hand.”
“Shifu is back!”
My ears only heard those words. The others have become smoke.
“Where is he?”
“Now he must be in his room…..”
Not listening to till he finished speaking, I quickly stood up and wanted to run inside the manor. Curling my legs the whole night, stood up too quickly, my legs went numb. My eyes went black and I fell onto the ground. My nose hit the ground really hard. A flow of nosebleed dirtied the ground. My head turned dizzily, my eyes were blurry. I only heard Zihui’s panic voice yelling: “A Xiang lady, a Xiang lady!”
“All is alright.”
I strongly stood up and wiped my face. Seeing the nosebleed on my hand, I was a little scared. I couldn’t keep standing by myself. Zihui, who was holding me, fell on top of me. He used his sleeve to wipe my face for me. Not even carrying that it was dirty, he also wiped my nose.
“Where else does it still hurt?”
I looked up and said with a muffled voice: “Nowhere else, I’m thick-skinned.”
Zihui looked at me for a while. Suddenly he shook his head and laughed out loud.
This sentence is truthful. I couldn’t deny it, so I looked up at the sky in silence.
Zihui helped me stood up, then his hand slightly loosened. He leaned in and carefully took a look at my face.
“En, it doesn’t flow anymore.”
With his arm on my shoulder, he whispered: “Do you want to go inside?”
I glanced at his hand on my shoulder. A little uncomfortable, I twisted.
“Yes, I need to go to shifu first.”
While saying that, I ran for two steps. I thought for a moment, looked back at ZiHui and said: “Thank you, husband!”
Zihui was a little startled. He didn’t even come back to his senses, when I turned and ran inside to go look for shifu.
I looked everywhere in the manor and still didn’t even see shifu’s shadow. I scratched my head and said to myself: “Zihui lied to me. Shifu obviously hasn’t come back.”
Those words were just out of my mouth, when a jug fell from above and hit the ground with a “pa” sound. It broke on the ground. The smell coming from it is the smell of wine.
I sniffed. It’s the same smell as the one at the front door.
I took a few steps back and lifted my head. I saw shifu sitting on the roof tiles, carrying a jug and staring at me blankly. I happily waved at him. I looked around. I moved the ladder on the corner, to where shifu is. With shaking legs I climbed.
“Shifu! Why are you here?”
Shifu answered me in a voice full of weird emotions: “Standing high, seeing far.”
I walked carefully to shifu’s side and sat beside him. I looked at him for a while and saw that he’s isn’t angry, did I asked: “Why didn’t shifu come back last night?”
He didn’t even look at me and said while looking in the distance: “Isn’t it good that I didn’t come back? How are you getting along with that husband?”
Hearing him asking that, I nodded.
“Good, very good.”
I held out my hand and was prepared to tell him everything I did with Zihui. I haven’t even opened my mouth, when shifu suddenly pulled me and shoved me. I lay on the roof. Shifu was lying on top of me, blocking all my sights.
A few roof tiles fell off and broke on the ground.
I blinked and looked at shifu’s somewhat reddish eyes. He smelled of wine. I was little panicked.
“Shifu, what’s the matter?…….Didn’t they say that only if a girl drinks it, she’ll become crazy?!”
“Cra…, “shifu whispered with half closed eyes. “I’ve probably gone mad.”
He smiled coldly.
“Forget the past lifetime. This lifetime, this lifetime……bastard Heavenly emperor Li, didn’t you say you like the play of the little wife chasing the husband?!”
He’s saying those words, I don’t understand again. I shook his shoulder. I felt speaking with be being on the bottom and he being on the top, was a too constraining.
“Let’s get up and speak.”
Shifu’s tone was that of disbelief. His eyes squinted dangerously.
“When you’re face to face with that Zihui, did you also ask him to get up?”
“We’ve not been speaking like this.”
He pointed with his finger.
“Just now, I must’ve been blinded by the light to see you two there, embracing and cuddling each other.”
I followed the direction that his finger was pointing. I saw Zihui, who was cleaning my nosebleed on the ground, with a rag.
This place is really high, you can really see very far.
I blinked and said: “Just now I fell, Zihui was helping me.”
One of shifu’s eyebrows rose. Hearing him say those two words, I don’t know why my chest tightened.
“Then I’ll also help you, alright?”
My lips felt soft. Shifu’s lips with a taste of wine, made my sense of feeling raise.
I was completely stunned. Suddenly I felt pain on my lower lip. Shifu bit me. I felt really wronged. After shifu let go of me, I immediately covered my mouth and said: “Shifu, this is not helping me, this is biting me.”
(Okay, I take back what I said about her not being stupid. Her naiveness/ stupidity/ dumbness is killing me)
I just finished speaking, when I saw that shifu’s face changed colors. He touched his lips. He looked shocked as if the person, who was bitten, was him.
He coldly stood up and backed a few steps away from me. Suddenly he slipped. This person rolled down the roof. I was shocked and quickly climbed down the ladder. But when I was on the ground, I didn’t see shifu. Only a place with broken roof tiles. It has the feeling of an animal went loose.
Shifu disappeared the whole day again. Until evening, when I and Zihui have finished cooking, did he walk into the manor with a pale face. He said nothing and just sat in between me and Zihui.
Seeing that shifu doesn’t look good, I didn’t dare to speak. I get a plate and chopsticks for him and obediently sat down. But Zihui picked a piece of meat and put it into my bowl. Quite enthusiastic, he said: “A Xiang, today you worked hard. Eat more meat.”
I nodded, bowed my head and chew on the meat. Today, I was bitten by shifu. There were some holes on my lip. When the warm rice touched my wound, I shivered. Intuitively, I spit the meat out. I lifted my head and saw that shifu and Zihui were looking at me. I covered my mouth and vaguely said: “Burned.”
Shifu coughed loudly and turned his head. Zihui laughed and said: “So that was it. You should blow on it before eating.”
While saying that, he picked a piece of meat for me again. I blew hard on the meat.
The dinner was only half way when Zihui spoke again: “A Xiang, we’re now engaged, when will we hold the wedding?”
Shifu put the bowl down with a “ge da”sound. That little sound made my heart skip a beat. I looked at shifu. Shifu stared at Zihui. Zihui, who must not want to live anymore, continued speaking: “Speaking of wedding, there are so many things to do. For example, inviting our parents to witness our wedding.”
Shifu’s body stiffened. His face turned a shade darker.
I blinked and looked at shifu. Zihui’s voice keep ringing in my ears: “Really ashamed, I lost both parents when I was very young. Now there’s only me left. Are a Xiang lady’s parents still alive? If you can, can you invite them? Elders blessing a marriage are a good thing. Of course, shifu is the best choice to officiate the marriage….”
Shifu broke Zihui’s words. His cold voice said: “I don’t care who you are nor do I care what your intentions are. I only tell you, xiaoye’s patience is already at its limit. If you’re sensible, leave today. Xiaoye will not bother you. If you want to stay…..”
Shifu paused; his hand gently knocked the table.
“I don’t mind adding a stone to the leg of the table.”
Zihui didn’t flinch, smiled and said: “Shifu is threatening me.”
“No, just informing you.”
I looked back and forth at the two of them. I’m beginning to not understand their conversation.
“Shifu, why don’t you ask for a Xiang lady’s wishes? After all, this marriage contract was set because of a Xiang’s lady wishes. Previously, shifu also approved. Breaking the contract now…….”
“Xiaoye, I, just want to break the contract.”
Shifu leaned back on his chair and looked contemptuously at Zihui.
“Come and hit me, ya.”
Zihui narrowed his eyes slightly.
“Why don’t you want a Xiang lady to bring a husband and lead a good life?”
I understood these words. So, Zihui has been speaking for me, defending me.
Originally, I was determined to do what shifu wanted, but after hearing those words from Zihui, all my grievances came out. Always ordering me, always bullying me, even forbidding people from helping me, getting mad at me……. abandoning me when he feels like it.
When I think about these things, I couldn’t help myself from glaring at shifu. I couldn’t believe that master just sneered coldly: “I just don’t want to let her have a good life. What about it? And don’t keep saying Xiao Xiang Zi’s wishes. Xiaoye will also tell you, my wishes are her wishes.
Shifu grabbed my hand and pulled me up.
“Xiao Xiang Zi, see the visitor off.”
I kept my head down in silence.
The surrounding was quiet for a while. I whispered with a little resentment: “Shifu…..I still have my own ideas.”
Shifu’s hand loosened. He seemed like he’s suppressing his anger, but he’s also in disbelief. He said: “You…you’re bent on marrying him?!”
I wrung my fingers.
“I just think that what shifu said is wrong.”
“A Xiang lady.”
I was arguing with shifu and didn’t notice that Zihui stood at my side now.
He held my waist and at the same time stepped three steps away from shifu.
Shifu’s face went white, his dark eyes turned darker. His body lurked to capture me. I was loss in the situation. Suddenly Zihui said gently in my ear: “Since shifu doesn’t understand us, let’s elope.”
I was astonished. I turned around and saw that his face was bright, chuckling.
Shifu’s hand hasn’t yet had the time to touch my cheek, when my head felt dizzy. Shifu’s gloomy voice sounded further and further away.
“Demon, you want to die!”
My eyes went black and I lost consciousness.
I feel for Chu Kong, he must be suffering, going through an inner-turmoil. At one side he doesn’t want to fall in love with XXZ, but at the other side, he can’t help but fall for her. What’s worse than fall for your enemy?