The wheels of the carriage were turning. I looked at the man in purple sitting across from me, whose eyes were closed. Then I grabbed onto the wood fence and shouted to the two people in front of the carriage: “Hey! Stomach ache, urgent.”
“You sure have many things, brat!”
One stopped the carriage while the other jumped off of it. He opened the door and dragged me out.
He pointed at the bushes on the roadside and said: “After you’ve resolved your business, come out.”
The man was holding the other end of the rope wrapped around my body. I looked around. There was no other way: I had to squat on the grass to resolve my business.
The man sitting on the carriage was cursing. He said that they should’ve just left me on the mountain to survive on my own. Bringing me along was too much trouble. Besides selling me, I wouldn’t bring them much money.
The other one said with a laugh: “This is still a success. Although the thousand-year-old ginseng ran away, we’ve caught something better. Well, this woman…if we can’t sell her, we can still bring her back for our own pleasure. The two of them are idiots. They can’t do anything serious. Just bear with it for a few days.”
I rubbed my empty stomach. I missed Shifu even more now. Yes, I was kidnapped. This situation began three days ago, when I left Shifu. Originally, I was planning to go to Shengling Sect and stay there for two days. Then I would bring back food and continue to massage Shifu’s legs and shoulders. But the improperly dressed me, I had met two brawny men on the hillside. It was the two men in front of me. They were carrying an unconscious man in purple, the man that was now asleep in the carriage.
The two brawny men are now discussing where they should go to eat and drink. With good intentions, I said: “The food at Shengling Sect is really delicious.”
The two men stared at me for a long time. Suddenly, one of them raised his hands against me. I didn’t win the fight, so I was forced into the carriage again.
We were on the road for three days. The man in purple slept for three days. I missed Shifu for three days.
I didn’t remember ever leaving Shifu for so long. Although Shifu liked to order me to do things that I didn’t like, like doing the laundry, making his bed, and massaging his legs and shoulders…and he also liked to make fun of me to pass the time…but Shifu was always there when I was sick. Whenever I woke up from a nightmare, Shifu was also there. Whenever I was being bullied, Shifu would bully that person back. I scratched my head and thought that compared to ginseng soup or stewing mushrooms with chicken, the look Shifu had when he rubbed my head and said “Xiao Xiang Zi, good,” was more delicious. I really wanted to go back to Shifu, ah…but now how do I go back to Shifu…
The carriage seemed to have hit a stone. I was thrown to the other side of the carriage. The man in purple opposite to me was also fiercely thrown to the other side. His breathing became ragged. I lifted my head and saw that his eyes had opened a little.
“Ah, you’ve woken up.”
Because of my shouting, the two men driving the carriage turned to look at us. They stared alertly at the man in purple before they continue to drive. I understood. The man in purple’s hands and feet were chained. His face was pale and his breathing was weak. He looked like someone who was about to die. The two men had nothing to worry about.
The man moved his hands and feet. The chain caused a ringing sound. He seemed to be aware of the situation he was in now, body stiffening. Then he raised his head to look at his surroundings. His eyes stared at the backs of the two big men for a while before he turned to look at me.
“Who are you?”
“I’m Xiao Xiang Zi.”
I kindly reminded him that we had been kidnapped.
He wrinkled his brow.
“You look really cheerful.”
“Because now, aside from me, there’s someone else who is uncomfortable. Shifu said that in a bad situation, looking at somebody who’s in an even worse situation than you will let your heart be at rest.”
The man sighed and dropped his head.
Seeing that he was really depressed, I kindly leaned against his ear and whispered: “Don’t worry, Shifu will come and save me. I’ll let him save you, too.”
The man glanced at me and didn’t speak.
Because I had a companion now, I didn’t feel lonely anymore. So, I began chatting with him. But this person didn’t seem to like talking. I told him about my life with Shifu and the interesting things we did. He blinked and kept listening; I talked from afternoon to midnight, and still this man hadn’t spoken a word. Suddenly one of the two men in front of us growled: “She! She’s the idiot disciple of Shengling Sect’s Shaozhu, the one he treats like a precious thing!”
I scratched my head and was about to say that Shifu didn’t treat me as a precious thing, but then a sudden gust of wind made me close my eyes. When I opened them, at the end of the road appeared a dim light. From the light, out slowly came the figure of a person.
“Ah! Shifu! Shifu,” I yelled.
I was so excited that I crashed against the wooden fence again. I couldn’t wait for Shifu to crush this thing and to fly into his arms.
But Shifu hadn’t yet approached when I heard a cold sneer.
My spine went cold, my hairs stood up. In my memories, Shifu rarely sneered like that, but once he sneered like that….
“Very good, very good.”
Shifu pulled a whip from his waist. I had never seen him use the whip before, but for some weird reason, seeing him with a whip in one hand, laughing with a murderous look… I actually felt at peace.
“Xiaoye searched the whole mountain for this person, but she has been abducted by you two.”
- 小爷 (Xiǎo yé): the meaning is little master. This is what Chu Kong used to call himself. If it used by oneself, it has an arrogant meaning. But it’s also used by servants of the noble class.
The whip touched the ground with a “pipa” sound. My body also started at the sound.
Shifu said laughingly: “Letting xiaoye be busy for a few days without results… Say, how do you want to die? Xiaoye will follow your wishes.”
The two looked at each other. One said: “We didn’t mean to offend Shengling Sect. This lady is Shaozhu’s disciple; we shall certainly return her to Shaozhu.”
I looked at the man in purple next to me. He remained silent and quietly observed the situation.
I whispered: “Don’t worry, my Shifu is not a soft or big-hearted person. These two people will certainly get whipped.”
The man in purple looked at me for a moment and suddenly said: “If your Shifu heard this, you’ll also be whipped.”
“Shifu will not whip me.”
Saying that, I remembered that Shifu had never used his hands against me. Every time he was mad at me, at most he would pinch my cheeks really hard. Remembering this, I felt that Shifu was pretty good. When we got back to the manor, I was determined to do my best massaging him.
While I was lost in my own thoughts, Shifu said: “Humph…I always prefer to get back what was stolen from me with my own two hands.”
His body began to move and the two men immediately pulled out their swords.
The first whip was not in the direction of the two people.
I only heard a “pa” sound. I turned my head and saw the wooden fence being split into pieces. Shifu threw a dagger at my feet and glanced at me with great dislike. He turned around and began fighting with the two men. These two brawny men’s martial arts were surprisingly good. They actually had a draw with Shifu.
I immediately picked up the knife and cut the ropes. I turned to the man in purple and said: “I’ll help you cut the chain.”
“Don’t waste your efforts,” he said. “This dark steel stone chain can’t be cut by an ordinary dagger. Those two men aren’t using ordinary martial arts, but martial arts that can catch demons. No matter how good your Shifu’s skills are, fighting with them at the same time is quite laborious. If you’re clever, you should escape now.”
I blinked and stared at the man for a moment.
“My Shifu is also not using ordinary martial arts.”
I picked up the dagger and meditated a formula that Shifu taught me several months ago. I cut through the chain really hard. The chain broke. Then I tucked the dagger safely into my clothes and said to the surprised man: “This is also not an ordinary dagger.”
I pulled the man up.
“We hide first. After Shifu is finished with them, we can come out.”
I was just about to lead this man away when I heard: “That brat wants to abducts our goods!”
After yelling that, the man left his partner and rushed at me.
I was shocked. My mouth called for Shifu. My hands dragged the man and desperately ran into the woods.
I heard Shifu yell: “Where are you planning to go, demon catcher?”
The voice was not far away from me. They must be chasing me.
The man in purple ran for a few steps and struggled to breathe. He said: “You should put…put me down…they will not come after you.”
After hearing that, I immediately let go of him. My steps hadn’t even stopped when a heavy blow came to my knee. My legs went soft and I embarrassingly fell onto the ground. I looked up and angrily accused the man in purple: “Liar! I let go and they still hit me!”
He opened his mouth, but no sound came out. He was speechless.
My chin was burning with pain. My skin was scraped. I hadn’t had the time to cry when a shadow grabbed me. I lifted my head and saw the brawny man waving his sword. He wanted to cut me into two halves, but then I blinked and saw that suddenly, a whip was wrapped against his waist. I didn’t know how much power the person holding the whip used, but he flicked his wrist and the brawny man flew aside like a puppet.
Shifu, dressed in full white, handsomely landed in front of me. One hand was holding the whip. With the other, he pulled me up. Even if Shifu’s face was really gloomy, in my eyes, it was as beautiful as the spring flowers.
I hugged him and rubbed, rubbed a few times against his chest and cried out loud: “Shifu, I was wrong! Huhu…I don’t want ginseng soup anymore…huhu…”
Shifu pulled me away, looked at my chin, squeezed my arms and legs and asked in a bad temper: “How many times did they beat you?!”
I sniffed: “I didn’t count…”
Shifu’s face turned even darker: “Did you beat them back?”
Shifu gritted his teeth. He glared angrily at the two brawny men standing together.
Full of hate he said: “You dare to want to kill the pig I raised…”
The brawny man who was thrown aside by Shifu said: “We already apologized to you and are willing to give the girl back to you. In the past few days we haven’t abused her. Why are you making things difficult for us?”
Shifu sneered and pulled me behind him. Quite furious he said: “Do I need a reason to make things difficult for you?”
“Shengling Sect must not go too far! We two only want our goods back…”
“Xiaoye doesn’t want to return it.”
Shifu picked up his whip and arrogantly said: “You can try and come steal it, ah.”
Seeing that Shifu and the two men were about to fight again, I scratched my head and went to sit beside the man in purple.
“You see, my Shifu is really narrow-minded.”
The man in purple was silent for a moment and said: “Your Shifu isn’t an ordinary human.”
I nodded: “En, he has a narrower mind than the average person…but Shifu’s always tolerant with me.”
I turned and looked at the man in purple.
“Ah, I still don’t know your name.”
He was silent for a moment before he said: “My name is Zihui.”
I was about to amiably introduce myself to him when suddenly, a glimmer of light flashed before my eyes. Zihui’s face turned pale. He pushed me to the ground and shouted: “Hidden weapon! Be careful!”
I hadn’t realized the situation yet when three needles flew in our direction. At that point it was too late to hide. I was in a trance. Suddenly a black whip appeared before us. Even though the whip was rough, it stopped the needles.
I was about to shout “almighty Shifu,” but then I saw that the two brawny men took advantage of Shifu’s distraction. One person fought with Shifu and the other raised his sword to slice him in half. I was startled, unable to make a sound as I just kept staring at them…
“Don’t bully my Shifu!“