Edited by renderedreversed
In a split moment, Shifu made a slight turn. The sword landed on his left shoulder. Blood flowed out, but Shifu didn’t seem to feel the slightest pain. His body sank. I didn’t know what force he used next, but he then flew past the men and made the slightest stroke. They shuddered and instantly collapsed, blood flowing out of their mouths as they fainted.
Zihui, who was leaning on me, went stiff. I didn’t care if he went stiff or not, pushed him aside, and ran to Shifu. Seeing Shifu’s wound on his shoulder, I didn’t know what to do or what to say.
Although Shifu was pale, his voice was no different from usual.
“Next time, if you dare to run around…”
He turned and left. He must’ve had some anger he hadn’t vented yet.
I grabbed his right hand and asked in fear: “Shifu…wound, does it hurt…”
“I won’t die,” he coldly said. “Humph, now you see me as your Shifu? I didn’t let you eat ginseng chicken soup, so you ran away to search for mushrooms to stew with the chicken. Did you find any?”
I obediently admitted my fault: “Shifu, I was wrong. I’ll never run away again.”
I was scared. My voice couldn’t help but shake. “Don’t be angry…Do not not want me.”
Hearing this, Shifu turned around to look at me. His voice sounded a little strange: “Oh, who was the one who shouted she didn’t want Shifu anymore.”
“I was wrong.”
“Well, since Shifu is a narrow-minded person, I’ll not accept your apology.”
“I was wrong…”
This was the only sentence that kept repeating in my heart, like a cold wind whistling around in it. I thought that this time, Shifu really didn’t want me anymore. I lifted my head and looked at him in tears. Shifu also looked at me. After a while, he blinked, and looking somewhat startled and agitated, he said: “Hey!”
His expression changed as he said, a little dumbfounded: “Stupid Xiang Zi, I was playing with you. There’s nothing to cry about.”
Big tears kept uncontrollably rolling out of my eyes. Shifu’s figure turned blurry. I grabbed his hand as tight as I could, afraid that when I let it go, he’d run away and leave me.
“Don’t…don’t not want me…”
Shifu sighed loudly: “You’re really stupid.”
“You can’t dislike me.”
I couldn’t stop sobbing.
“I don’t dislike you!”
He impatiently said those words and was silent for a long time. I only kept sobbing. Suddenly Shifu pulled away his right hand. My heart was empty. But in the next instant, suddenly my palm felt warm. Shifu was holding my hand like he used to when we were kids and climbing the mountain.
He wiped my tears and bent his lips in frustration: “Forget it, let’s go back to Fengxueshan Manor.”
Obviously, his tone was that of disdain, but to me Shifu’s voice felt warm like his palm.
“Wound of the flesh. It just looks scary.”
Shifu, holding my hand, managed to walk two steps before I stopped and pointed at Zihui, who was sitting on the side and said: “Shifu…there’s one more.”
Shifu’s body stiffened. He turned and looked at Zihui from head to toe. He wrinkled his eyebrows and looked at me.
“Oh, you really did find chicken mushroom stew. Is he a chicken essence or a mushroom essence?”
I grabbed Shifu’s hand really hard and swore: “I don’t want any essence! I only want Shifu!”
Seeing me with this expression on my face, Shifu hesitated and looked away. He grunted softly: “It’s good that you know.”
At that moment, silent Zihui suddenly said: “Little… a Xiang lady, go back with your Shifu. I’m not really hurt.”
I blinked and looked at him. I felt that saying those words with his pale face, he really had no persuasive power.
Leaving such a weak person alone in the woods was a little… Besides, we could say that we depended on each other…
I was still not finished thinking when Shifu mercilessly pulled me away.
“Stone essence of ten thousand years, this brat’s cultivation is much higher than yours. There’s no need for you to worry about him.”
“Is it higher than Shifu’s?”
Shifu was silent for a while. Suddenly he squeezed my face really hard.
“If it wasn’t for you, would I be in this state right now?!”
Shifu’s squeeze was really painful. I blinked in order to keep my tears from falling out. Otherwise, if Shifu couldn’t vent his anger, he’d abandon me again…
The hand that was squeezing me slowly released. Shifu sighed: “Forget it…you don’t know anything.”
I went back with Shifu to Fengxueshan Manor.
For several months, Shifu used the excuse that his shoulder was injured to order me to do all sorts of things. Even turning the page of his books was my job now. Almost all of my time was spent under Shifu’s eyelids (she was always in his sight).
But Shifu looked very comfortable. I took it as my atonement and very seriously took care of him.
On one afternoon, Shifu was taking a nap. I was sitting on a stool beside the bed, fanning him. While I was fanning, something fell on the floor with a “dongdong” sound.
I blinked and hazily looked. It was a thumb-sized crystal clear stone. I picked it up and looked at it through the sunlight. There was a speckled purple light around it. It was very beautiful.
“When we go down the mountain on another day, I’ll let the craftsmen make a ring out of it. It’ll certainly look beautiful on Shifu.”
After I said those words, I didn’t know why my hand shook. The stone fell on the ground and rolled over to I don’t know where. I bent down to look for it, but Shifu, dissatisfied, hummed twice: “Xiao Xiang Zi! Fan; don’t be lazy.”
I was busy fanning Shifu. I thought that I’d come back later when it was empty, but no matter how hard I searched later, I couldn’t find the stone. Over time, I forgot about it.
It was another winter. Fenxueshan’s snow was now knee deep. Shifu seemed to hate the snow since the day he was born. If it was windy and snowy outside, no matter how many important things he had to do, Shifu would sit by the fire in the house and read books all day.
Charcoal, incense, and meals. These I needed to prepare for him.
That day, after I had a meal with Shifu, I did the dishes and went to clean the yard. I took the broom, swept a few times, sat on the snow, and then dozed off.
Yesterday, Shifu taught me a new formula. I didn’t memorize it. He trained me for most of the night. Today I needed to wake up early, but I was very sleepy. Drowsily lying on the snow, I fell asleep.
In my dreams, a man in purple called my name: “A Xiang lady, a Xiang lady.”
I resented him for breaking my beautiful dream. I muttered a few words and didn’t want to bother with him, but he called and called. At last, he said with a smile in his voice: “If a Xiang lady still don’t wake up, your Shifu will beat your butt.”
The word “Shifu” stung my nerves. I opened my eyes just in time to see Shifu standing in front of me, holding a large banner with bamboo printing on it. He frowned and looked at me with tension: “Get up, you’re not allowed to sleep in the snow.”
Shifu rarely spoke to me in such a serious tone. I was scared and surprised for a moment, forgetting to react. Shifu was too lazy to say it a second time. He pulled me up from the snow.
“If you’re tired, go sleep in your room.”
After he finished talking, he walked away. With the wind blowing, I wasn’t sure if it was an illusion or if he really said these words: “Someone closed her eyes in the snow. They never opened again.”
I couldn’t understand this sentence, just as I couldn’t understand why Shifu occasionally looked at me in trance. He seemed to be looking at me, but he also seemed to be looking at another person. Sometime he would even whisper: “Fucking hell… The more she grows, the more she looks like her!”
From when I was little, Shifu always said some sentences that I didn’t understand. I didn’t even bother to care about them anymore. Actually, since then, I often saw a man in purple in my dreams. He always stood in the darkness, looking at me and calling me…a Xiang lady.
At the beginning, I didn’t dare to speak to him. After seeing him for a few times, I picked up my courage and asked him: “Who are you?”
He answered lightly: “The person of your dreams.”
The next day I woke up and run to ask Shifu: “What is the person of your dreams?”
Shifu yawned on his bed. He lazily answered me: “Ghost, demons. Monsters that don’t even live in this world. The demons that make your mind a mess, causing you to think about the times you were together. Well…which do you think fit? Which is the person of your dreams?”
I scratched my head. I felt that none of them fitted.
After some days, I took advantage of when we went to Shengling Sect to gather food and asked the people of Shengling Sect the same question. They all gave me strange answers. None were the same.
Hujiao uncle patted my head, looked at me comfortingly, and said: “Xiao Xiang Zi has grown up.”
Tangzhu sister stared at me like a scholar and told me: “Heart and soul requested for a beautiful dream of the other half.”
The butcher told me: “Ah, you’re already old enough to have spring dreams! Well, when you search for a husband, find someone who looks like the person of your dreams.”
After saying that the butcher touched his chin, thought for a moment, and whispered to himself: “Shiiiii….it won’t be good if Shaozhu heard my words…”
I blinked for a moment and then asked: “What is a husband good for?”
“What is a husband good for…” the butcher laughed. “Earning money for the family to let the wife live a good life!”
My heart was happy, my eyes glinted. I asked: “Then can I find a husband and be his wife?”
This way, I could let husband do all the work Shifu ordered me to do: doing the laundry, making Shifu’s bed and massaging Shifu. I could finally enjoy a better life!
I didn’t know why that after I asked that question, the butcher looked really awkward. He scratched his head and said: “It’s not that you can’t…but…you have to ask your Shifu first.”
One more person to serve Shifu. Shifu will certainly be happy. There’s nothing bad about it. Shifu will surely agree.
I happily carried the food back to Fengxueshan Manor. After we finished dinner, seeing that Shifu was in a good mood today, I excitedly asked: “Shifu, do you want one more person to serve you?”
Shifu drank a gulp of tea, turned, and looked at me for a moment.
“One stupid disciple is enough. I don’t want one more to cause me more headache.”
“It’s not a disciple,” I said. “I’ll find a husband for myself. Then bring him back. Together we’ll serve Shifu. What do you think?”
I counted on my fingers. One, two, three, four, five; I counted the benefits of a husband.
“When I do the dishes, he’ll sweep the floor. When I make the fire, he’ll cut the firewood. When I do the laundry…well, he’ll do the laundry with me. The work will be certainly done faster and better.”
I turned and looked at Shifu with a face full of hope.
“Shifu, isn’t that really beautiful?”
Shifu turned the cup quietly, without speaking a word.
He must have not heard me. So, I asked in a louder voice: “Shifu, what do you say about me looking for a husband?”
With a “pa” sound, the cup in Shifu hand broke. The tea dropped on his body. I was shocked and heard Shifu laughed out loud.
“Good, this is excellent. One more person coming to serve me. How is that not good?!”
As he was saying that, his expression was somewhat insane. I wanted to say “Shifu, your expression doesn’t match your words.” But before I could say anything, Shifu stood in front of me and fiercely pinched my face again and again.
“Really great courage, huh? Ah, Xiao Xiang Zi, already thinking to look for help, together dealing with me.”
“Serving you,” I corrected him. But apparently Shifu didn’t listen.
“Good, mortal women will get married after they get the hairpin. There’s still one more year. If you find the right person after a year, then you go and marry him.”
Shifu almost stared at me with his nostrils.
“If that time comes and no one wants to marry you, you can’t come crying to me and complain.”
I scratched my head and said very puzzled: “Shifu, if you don’t want me to look for a husband, I won’t look for one. Don’t be angry.”
I didn’t know how these words poked at Shifu’s nerves. His body went stiff. He loosened his hand, turned, and said: “Humph, who cares if you look or not, it’s just…it’s just that you’re my disciple. If at that time no one marries you, I’ll lose face!”
Shifu is really someone who cares about face. I sighed and said: “Shifu, you don’t need to worry. I already have a target. I’ll do my best.”
I picked up the dishes and went out of the room. Shifu was left frozen inside. Only when I was going to go around the corner did Shifu’s dark voice come from behind: “Hey.”
His shout made me stop. It took a moment before he continued: “Who is it that you fancy?”
I looked at the sky and thought for a moment before I replied: “The person of my dreams.”
After I turned around the corner, I heard the table being kicked.
Shifu began practicing after a meal…really hard working, ah.
I also had to work hard on finding a husband. Then I could help Shifu and would cause him less trouble.
Since then Shifu ordered me to do more and more things. Even while he was sleeping, I needed to sleep next to his bed on the floor.
Every time, we went to Shengling Sect to gather food, Shifu would walk behind me leisurely. Initially, everyone treated me as they usually did, but gradually the males didn’t speak to me anymore. Not long after, even the butcher didn’t speak to me anymore. So, after some time, I was a little unhappy. I felt that they probably disliked me because I did something wrong. Whenever Shifu saw me unhappy, his face would turn darker. Occasionally I could hear him say to himself: “Damn it, he really is someone from Shengling Sect…”
I really like Chu Kong. I think that he hates the snow because of what happened to Yun Xiang. It really affected him. He’s so cute when he’s jealous and so considerate even when he’s bullying her. Chu Kong is the person of my dreams <3