It was the same dream again. The silent man in purple quietly looked at me from a dark place. I also looked at him for a long time. Finally, I, melancholic, said: “Don’t look for me anymore. Even though you’re the person of my dreams, I can’t take you to reality to be my husband.”
Tomorrow was the day that I would get my hairpin. Shifu let the people of Shengling Sect organize a big feast for me to choose a husband. His face looks darker each approaching day. Although I didn’t know the reason why, but I could see that Shifu didn’t like me looking for a husband. So, I was very puzzled. If he didn’t like it, then I could just stop looking for a husband. Why did he have to spend time organizing a feast for me to find one when it would just make him angry?
I sighed and told the man in purple: “My Shifu is a weirdo. Although he organized a feast for me to choose a husband, he isn’t happy that I’m choosing one. So even though I really want a husband, I still won’t choose. Besides, you only ever appear in my dreams. You can’t come to the feast. Well…so I thought, but I’ve concluded that you shouldn’t appear in my dreams anymore. You make me wish for a better life, and I’ll be disappointed if I can’t have one later.”
The man in purple listened to my words. I didn’t know why he laughed.
“Don’t worry, I’ll do my best to make sure you live a good life. What do you think?”
My eyes lit up, but thinking about Shifu’s sullen face, I shook my head: “If I have a good life, Shifu will be unhappy…forget it, it’s best if I just stay beside Shifu.”
The man in purple was silent for a very long time.
“A Xiang lady, do you like your Shifu very much?”
“Very much,” I nodded. “Shifu eats meat, I also eat meat. Shifu is happy, I’m also happy.”
The man in purple didn’t speak again. In my ears, I could hear the faint sound of Shifu’s voice calling for me. It was presumably already dawn. I waved at the man in purple and said: “I’m going. Let’s not meet each other anymore.”
I opened my eyes and saw that the sun just came up. My heart didn’t understand where Shifu’s energy comes from; he was able to get up even earlier than me. My vision grew clearer, and I saw Shifu standing at my bedside, looking at me with squinted eyes.
“What did you see in your dream? Your mouth was muttering.”
“Well,” I said while rubbing my eyes. “I was saying goodbye to the person of my dreams…”
I didn’t finish talking when I felt something heavy on my body. It was Shifu, who threw my clothes on the bed with a terrible temper. His face was really dark. He gritted his teeth and breathed for a long time before he said: “Today, when you wake up, you can see him. There’s no need to be so attached to each other in your dreams as well!”
I was about to explain that in the future I couldn’t see him anymore, but Shifu left the room and just left me with these angry sentences: “After changing into this dress, come out. Today’s choosing a husband feast will be held at Shengling Sect. We’ll go down the mountain together.”
Ai…Shifu is making things difficult for himself again.
The clothes that Shifu gave me were white. I looked in the bronze mirror. This dress felt like the clothes Shengling Sect wore when someone has died. But it wasn’t ugly. I lifted the skirt and ran out to look for Shifu.
When Shifu saw me, he hesitated and wrinkled his brows.
“You’re not allowed to laugh! Don’t pretend to be charming!”
I obediently closed my mouth.
“Don’t pretend to be mature.”
I felt really wronged: “I’m not pretending.”
“Shut up! You’re not allowed to make a pitiful expression!”
I closed my mouth and looked at him bewildered.
Shifu covered his face and gave a long sigh.
“Forget it…Let’s go down.”
I walked behind Shifu. I only heard Shifu in front of me saying to himself: “Fucking hell, what’s wrong with me?! What’s wrong with me?! It’s all the fault of that person of her dreams. Don’t let me know who you are today, or see how I’ll deal with you. Deal with you!”
I was behind Shifu. I gently tugged at his clothes.
“Shifu, if you’re really upset, we shouldn’t go down today. I’ll never mention the words ‘the person of my dreams’ again in front of you.”
Shifu stopped in his tracks. I looked up at him. There was a slightly surprised expression on Shifu’s face. He seemed like he didn’t want me to see his expression, so he turned around really fast. Without a word, he continued walking. I grabbed his clothes and followed him from behind, just like a small tail….
Suddenly a warm hand grabbed my hand that was pulling at his clothes. I heard the sound of Shifu’s voice through the cold air.
“I didn’t…mean to get mad at you.”
Holding my hand, he walked down the path to go to Shengling Sect.
“You don’t need to be afraid.”
I stared at Shifu’s hand. My heart eased down.
Shengling Sect had been decorated. When Shifu walked in holding my hand, the females came and congratulated me. Passing the yard, I saw a man cleaning the leaves. My footsteps stopped.
So nice; all the menial labor at Shengling Sect were done by the men. It would be so nice if Fengxueshan Manor also had a man…
Of course, Shifu was in another league. He was more superior than both men and women.
When I stopped, Shifu also stopped. I looked back at Shifu. I didn’t know why his face is dark again. I blinked. I really didn’t understand where Shifu’s temper came from.
Shifu took me straight to Shengling Sect’s second floor. There was a balcony there where you could see what was happening below. On weekdays, the people of Shengling Sect would train below this balcony. Today, it was cleared and used for me to pick my husband.
I stood with Shifu on the balcony. After a while the males stood in a line below us. Even the butcher stood in the line with a face full of cold sweat. Everyone seemed unwilling. Actually, they looked like they all had a stomach ache. They were in so much pain that they couldn’t even lift their heads. I looked below and only saw the black strands of their hair.
Someone brought a chair over for Shifu. He sat down. With a cup of tea in his hand, without looking around, he coldly said: “Well, Xiao Xiang Zi, today has finally come. Pick. Where’s that person of your dreams?”
I glanced around and said to Shifu: “Shifu…you’re upset because I’m choosing. I won’t choose anymore.”
Shifu squinted his eyes and smiled: “Feeling embarrassed to pick? Alright, then you guys have to apply yourself.”
He said to the males below: “This disciple that I raised for ten years, who wants her?”
The heads of the males below hung even lower. No one spoke a word.
I blinked for a moment and thought that after so many years, no man was actually willing to follow me back and be my husband. I couldn’t help but sigh sadly. Hearing me sigh, Shifu made a “humph” sound. He stared at me for a while and then laughed.
“Well, are you guys also embarrassed?”
Shifu took a red ball from the people behind us.
“Then, how about we let the ball decide? Whoever it hits, it’ll be him. Xiao Xiang Zi, you need to throw it at the one you like.” (Can’t believe Chu Kong will go this far just because he wants to know who’s that person.)
Shifu gave me the red ball. I held it in my hand and pondered for a while. Then, with a little force, I threw it back at Shifu’s lap. Shifu went stiff, looking down blankly at the ball. I stared at Shifu and said: “I think that the one I like the most is still Shifu.”
The audience went silent for a while. Then the sound of their quickened breaths could be heard. A “pu” sound came from the people laughing behind us. Shifu’s face slowly turned red in this increasingly noisy environment.
“Out, out, outrageous!”
Shifu abruptly stood up and pinched my cheek.
“Your guts turned fat. You dare to provoke Xiaoye!”
“It fell, it fell!”
I saw how the red ball fell to the floor, rolled to the edge of the balcony and dropped to the ground below. The males scattered like birds. Then the red ball bounced and rolled to the middle of the crowd. By this time, there was no one who dared to be within three meters of it.
I rubbed my eyes, a little disappointed.
“So, everyone is afraid to be my husband, ah. Everyone is disgusted because I’m stupid.”
The hand pinching my cheek stiffened. Shifu said: “Who dares?!”
He stopped, coughed and said: “That’s not the reason.”
I lifted my head and looked at Shifu.
“Then why does nobody want to be my husband?” (Because they’re afraid of cutie Chu Kong, ah)
Shifu opened his mouth. Before he could speak, a familiar voice came from outside. It was the voice of the man in purple, who often appeared in my dreams.
“A Xiang lady, I’m willing.”
I turned to look and saw a purple tornado. He jumped over the crowd and walked slowly to the red ball. A pair of white hands picked up the ball on the ground. He patted the dust from it, looked at me, and smiled: “I’ll do my best to let you have a good life.”
“The person of my dreams?” I whispered. I couldn’t believe that he appeared in real life. In my dreams, I never saw his face. Now that I could see it clearly, I suddenly remembered him. Isn’t he the one who was kidnapped with me by those demon catchers about a year ago?!
“Zihui,” I yelled, a little surprised.
I left with Shifu that time. Later, I didn’t know if he lived or died. Now that I could see that he lived, I was happy.
“Oh, the person of your dreams,” Shifu suddenly said with a strange tone. My heart inexplicably trembled. Carefully, I turned around and glanced at Shifu. I can only saw an angle of his lips laughing in a sinister and penetrating way.
“Hehehehe, so this was it, so this was it. I calculated everyone, in the end it was someone outside Shengling Sect, hehe.”
Shifu looked at me with slanted eyes. The anger in his eyes made my legs shake. He pinched my face and said laughingly: “Amazing, Xiao Xiang Zi. In the past year, where did you and this fellow hook up without anyone knowing?”
That crazy look in the pair of Shifu’s eyes made me a little afraid. My voice shook a little when I honestly answered: “On my bed, when it was time to sleep.”
The hand pinching my face, loosened. Shifu’s expression turned empty.
“You…You two, already turned the uncooked rice into cooked rice.”
- 都已经把生米做成熟饭了 (dōu yǐjīng bǎ shēng mǐ zuò chéngshú fànle): turned the uncooked rice into cooked rice. Chu Kong meant that they already slept together.
“No rice and no cooked rice. I only saw him in my dreams. Occasionally we’d talk,” I quickly explained.
“I only cooked rice for Shifu. I didn’t cook for other people. Shifu don’t be angry.”
Although I don’t know what’s wrong with cooking rice for other people, but Shifu’s temper is inexplicable. I’ll just concede a little.
After hearing my words, Shifu turned around. His face was even darker.
“The technique of entering one’s dream…”
Shifu looked at Zihui, who was below the balcony and said coldly: “Brother, you really did make an effort for this stupid disciple of mine!”
“After we said our goodbyes a year ago, I missed a Xiang lady day and night.”
Zihui’s cheeks were slightly red. He said in a low voice: “I thought left and right and decided that this was the only way that wasn’t offensive. Although entering one’s dream is risky, but for a Xiang lady, everything is worth it.”
My eyes lit up. The last sentence completely took my mind. I saw that in the future, there’ll be a figure of a man in Fengxueshan Manor, running here and there, doing all the chores.
I looked at Zihui with dreamy eyes, full of hope.
The wood beneath Shifu’s leg made a “ge la ge la” sound. The sound was like something being crushed.
Suddenly, Shifu pulled me back. The sight in front of me turned black: it was Shifu’s back. He blocked my entire view. I could only hear Shifu saying with a stuffy voice: “Let that thought of yours die; Xiao Xiang Zi will not marry someone outside Shengling Sect. Go back to where you came from.”
After saying that, Shifu dragged me inside.
I looked at Zihui with some dismay. I heard him yell: “Shifu, you’re a bit autocratic. A Xiang lady already received her hairpin and no one in Shengling Sect wants to marry a Xiang lady. Shifu is only using such an excuse to make a Xiang lady stay by your side. Have you considered that it’ll delay a Xiang lady’s big moment in life?”
Shifu’s footsteps stopped. He took a deep breath. I didn’t know what he was suppressing. Zihui’s voice continued: “I came with a true heart to ask for a Xiang lady’s wishes. Even if Shifu doesn’t want to see me, Shifu needs to ask a Xiang lady for her opinion. After all, she’s only your disciple. You can’t decide her whole life.”
Shifu’s grip on my hand was painful. I endured it until I couldn’t anymore. I whispered: “Shifu…grip is painful.”
The people below were scared. Inside, the servants acted like the dead; they were so quiet that even the sound of their breathing couldn’t be heard.
Shifu was silent for a long time. In the end, he let go of my hand. Then he turned around and looked at me with darkened eyes, full of emotions I couldn’t name.
“Xiao Xiang Zi, say, this man called Zihui, you want, or you don’t want him?”
I looked awkwardly at Shifu. Finally, I shook my head and said: “Shifu doesn’t want me to want, so I don’t want.”
I stared at my toes for a long time and still didn’t hear Shifu’s reply.
Curiously, I looked up at Shifu, only to find him frowning. His lips were in a straight line and with the pallor of his face, he looked like he had received a heavy blow.
“I ask you: do you want to marry him?”
“Shifu doesn’t want me to marry him, so I won’t.”
“It’s not about my wishes; it’s about yours.”
Shifu seemed obsessed. He stared at me and asked: “Do you want to marry him?”
Looking at Shifu’s dark face, I felt the urge to hold his hand. I wanted to say, “Shifu, don’t make things harder for yourself, alright…”
But before I could open my mouth, Shifu nodded and said: “Good. You want him, so he’s yours.”
He left then, only leaving me with these cold words: “Come back with him yourself to Fengxueshan Manor.”
I chased after him. Just when I got to the first floor, Shifu saw Zihui coming from outside. His angry mood heightened to another level and he yelled back at me: “Don’t follow me!”
I stopped and stood there in the hall, motionless, but despite my obedience, my heart couldn’t help but feel frightened. Shifu was angry; he wanted to leave me.
“A Xiang lady.”
Zihui and Shifu passed each other. He walked over to me, cheeks still tinged red.
“Forgive me. After hearing you say that last night, I was a little impatient, so today I came in a rush. A Xiang lady, don’t be angry.”
My eyes were fixed on Shifu’s back, who was leaving. Zihui’s word came in one ear and right out the other.
“A Xiang lady?”
A hand waved in front of my face. I blinked, and my eyes finally focused on Zihui’s face.
I said with dissatisfaction: “We agreed on not meeting anymore.”
Zihui was stunned for a moment.
“Sorry, but I couldn’t suppress myself. I thought that I still had to come and try…”
I was happy that there someone so willing to be my husband, but Shifu didn’t want…
My head felt warm. It was Zihui touching my head. He said: “The reason Shifu doesn’t want us to get married now must be because he isn’t sure about leaving you in my hands. In the future, if we spend more time together, I believe that he’ll see that my heart is true. It’ll all be fine.”
I thought for a while and felt that his words were reasonable. My heart began to feel a little better.
I saw his hand holding the red ball. I pointed at it and said: “This is for Shifu. Give it to me.”
The hand on my head stiffened. I looked up and saw Zihui’s warm smile: “Alright, you’ll give it to Shifu.”
I took the red ball and said to Zihui: “I’ll take you back to Fengxueshan Manor. Today, you can clean the yard first.”
“…Alright, I’ll clean the yard.”