That night, Shifu didn’t come back to Fengxueshan Manor. For most of the night, I sat at the manor’s front door, holding my knees as I waited. 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 would suddenly appear. He would pinch my cheeks and yell at me, telling me to go back inside to sleep.
But Shifu didn’t appear. The one that appeared was Zihui. He covered me with a coat.
“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 instead, and together, we stared at the long road before us.
“Zihui, why do you want to be my husband?” Since there was nothing else to do, I opened my mouth and said: “Even though I and the people of Shengling Sect know each other very 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 why.”
I put my head on my knees. I really wanted to sleep. Slowly, my eyelids grew heavy.
I honestly said: “I always felt that there was something strange in your eyes.”
The person beside me seemed somewhat agitated.
“I don’t know, but I think…in your heart, you’re probably not willing to be my husband.”
I closed my eyes. My head fell to the side, resting on a thick shoulder.
“Actually…if you are not willing, we can cancel it… I won’t force you.”
The person beside me didn’t say anything and I slowly fell asleep.
(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 and took a closer look. It was Zihui cleaning the stone stairs using a broom.
The air had a strange smell. I vaguely remembered the butcher once told me that this smell was called wine. It was a wonderful thing, but the butcher never let me touch it. He said that when a girl drank it, she would become crazy. Now, I was a little stupid, but I was still rational. If I touched that kind of thing and became silly and crazy, Shifu would really not want me anymore. So, I had been keeping that kind of thing far away from me. In Fengxueshan, there were 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. When he saw us sitting at the front door, he slipped. A bit of the wine spilled from the jar in his hand.”
“Shifu is back!”
My ears only heard those words. The other words had turned to smoke.
“Where is he?”
“He must be in his room right now…”
I didn’t wait until he finished speaking and quickly stood up, wanting to run straight into the manor. But I had been curling my legs the entire night and I stood up too quickly, so my legs went numb. My vision went black and I collapsed. I must’ve hit my nose very hard, because a flow of blood dirtied the ground. My head turned dizzy, my eyes were blurry. I only heard Zihui’s panicked voice yelling: “A Xiang lady, a Xiang lady!”
“Everything is alright.”
I forced myself up and wiped my face. Seeing the nosebleed on my hand was a little scary. I couldn’t keep myself upright. Zihui, who was holding me, fell on top of me. He used his sleeve to wipe my face, and 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 was truthful. I couldn’t deny it, so I looked up at the sky in silence.
Zihui helped me stand up, then his hand slightly loosened its grip on mine. He leaned in and carefully took a look at my face. “En, no more blood anymore.”
With his hand on my shoulder, he whispered: “Do you want to go inside?”
I glanced at that hand of his and felt a little uncomfortable, so I twisted away.
“Yes, but I need to go to Shifu first.”
While saying that, I ran two steps forward before turning back around. I thought for a moment, looked back at Zihui, and said: “Thank you, husband!”
Zihui was a little startled. He hadn’t yet returned to his senses before I turned and ran inside to go look for Shifu.
I looked everywhere in the manor and still didn’t see a hint of Shifu’s shadow. I scratched my head and said to myself: “Zihui lied to me. Shifu obviously hasn’t come back.”
Those words had just come out of my mouth when a jug fell from above and hit the ground with a “pa” sound. It broke upon impact. The smell coming from it was the smell of wine.
I sniffed. It was the same smell as the one at the front door.
I took a few steps back and lifted my head. Shifu was sitting on the roof tiles, carrying a jug as he stared at me blankly. I happily waved at him and looked around, then grabbed the ladder out of the corner and moved it to where Shifu was. With shaking legs, I climbed up.
“Shifu! Why are you here?”
Shifu answered me in a voice full of weird emotions: “Standing high, one can see far.”
I walked carefully to Shifu’s side and sat beside him. I looked at him for a while and saw that he wasn’t angry, so bolstered with that knowledge, I asked: “Why didn’t Shifu come back last night?”
He didn’t even look at me. While staring into the distance, he said: “Isn’t it good that I didn’t come back? How are you getting along with that husband of yours?”
Hearing him ask that, I nodded.
“Good, very good.”
I held out my hand and was prepared to tell him everything I did with Zihui. But I hadn’t even opened my mouth yet when Shifu suddenly tugged, shoving me down onto the roof. Shifu was lying on top of me, blocking my entire view.
A few roof tiles fell off and broke against the ground.
I blinked and looked at Shifu’s somewhat reddish eyes. He reeked of wine… I panicked a bit.
“Shifu, what’s the matter? Didn’t they say that only a girl would turn crazy if she drank it?”
“Cra…,” Shifu whispered with half closed eyes. “I’ve probably gone mad.”
He smiled coldly.
“Forget the past lifetime. This lifetime, this lifetime…that bastard Heavenly Emperor Li! Didn’t you say that you liked the play of the little wife chasing the husband?!”
He was saying words I didn’t understand again. I shook his shoulder. Having a conversation while I was below him and he was on top of me felt a little 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 haven’t been speaking like this.”
He pointed with his finger.
“I must’ve been blinded by the light just now, because I could have sworn I saw you two right there, embracing and cuddling each other.”
I followed the direction of his finger and saw Zihui, who was cleaning the remnants of my nosebleed on the ground with a rag.
This place was really high; you could indeed see very far.
I blinked and said: “I fell just now, so Zihui was helping me.”
One of Shifu’s eyebrows rose. Hearing him say those two words, I didn’t know why my chest tightened.
“Then I’ll also help you, alright?”
My lips felt soft. Shifu’s lips tasted of wine, heightening all of my senses.
I was completely stunned. Suddenly, I felt pain on my lower lip. Shifu actually bit me. I felt really wronged. After Shifu let go of me, I immediately covered my mouth and said: “Shifu, that wasn’t helping me, that was biting me.”
(Okay, I take back what I said about her not being stupid. Her naivety/stupidity/dumbness is killing me)
I had just finished speaking when I saw that Shifu’s face had changed colors. He touched his lips. Shocked as he was, it was like the person who had been bitten wasn’t me, but him.
He coldly stood up and backed a few steps away from me. Suddenly, he slipped. This person actually rolled down the roof. I was shocked and quickly climbed down the ladder, but when I came down, I didn’t see Shifu. There were only broken roof tiles. It felt like an animal had gone loose.
Shifu disappeared for the whole day again. It was evening, right about when Zihui and I had finished cooking, when he walked pale-faced back into the manor. He said nothing and just sat in between me and Zihui.
Seeing that Shifu didn’t look good, I didn’t dare to speak. I get a plate and chopsticks for him and obediently sat down. But Zihui, on the other hand, 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 my meat. Today, I had been bitten by Shifu. There were some holes on my lip from where his teeth had punctured. When the warm rice touched my wound, I shivered and reflexively spit out the meat. When 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 out a piece of meat for me again. I blew hard on it this time.
The dinner was only halfway through when Zihui spoke again: “A Xiang, we’re now engaged, so when will we hold the wedding?”
Shifu put his 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 have wanted to live anymore, continued to speak: “Speaking of the 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 kept ringing in my ears: “I’m really ashamed; I lost both of my 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? The elders’ blessing is a good thing for a marriage. Of course, Shifu is the best choice to officiate the marriage…”
Shifu cut off Zihui’s words. His cold voice said: “I don’t care who you are, nor do I care what your intentions are. I’ll only tell you this: 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; instead, he smiled and said: “Shifu is threatening me.”
“No, just informing you.”
I looked back and forth between the two of them. Their conversation was losing me.
“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…”
“I, Xiaoye, just wanted 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 in a husband and lead a good life?”
I understood these words. So, Zihui had 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 whenever he felt like it.
When I thought 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 her to have a good life. What about it? And don’t keep talking about ‘Xiao Xiang Zi’s wishes.’ Xiaoye will also tell you that 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. Then, I whispered with a little resentment: “Shifu… I still have my own ideas.”
Shifu’s hand loosened. He seemed like he was suppressing his anger, but he was 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 had come to stand beside me.
He wrapped an arm around my waist and stepped three steps back away from Shifu.
Shifu’s face went white; his dark eyes turned darker. His body lurched, trying to capture me. I was at a complete loss in this situation. Suddenly, Zihui said gently into 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 hadn’t yet had the time to touch my cheek before my head started to feel dizzy. Shifu’s gloomy voice sounded further and further away.
“Demon, you want to die!”
My vision 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?