Luo Zhanyu raised his eyebrows and questioned him again, "It sounds like you have a plan, correct?"
There was no way for him to come up with an idea suddenly. Luo Zhanyu did not know whether he should be worried or happy. "Since you are unable to help at the moment, how can you guarantee her a grand ceremony if you aren't even able to find a way out of here at the moment? Are we going to leave this matter unsolved if we never get out of this place?"
"What do you mean by that?"
"Here's the rules. Since you are here, you should learn to abide by the rules that we have here. You will have to prepare Gu Xijiu a wedding that everyone recognizes."
There were more men as compared to women living in this place. Furthermore, they practiced a monogamous culture. Therefore, it was challenging for a man to marry a wife. It is a must for a woman to agree that they are willing to be with the man first. Besides that, it was also necessary for them to partake in a challenge. Only those who passed the obstacles shall receive recognition from the public.
It was also because of the hardships that they would learn to cherish each other. The challenges were never easy. They were unique and tough to complete. Some people needed seven to eight years to prepare for the challenges before they could get married! For example, if a person wanted to get the consent of all the men, he would need to get along with them.
After all, this was a place with way more men than women. It was common that seven to eight men liked the same woman at the same time. A woman's marriage meant that other people had less hope of marriage. Therefore, it was not surprising that the men were not satisfied. It was challenging to obtain consent from the other men.
Though Gu Xijiu had not been here that long, she had been tackled by many single men in the village. It was apparent that they all wanted her for themselves. One of them was Baili Ce.
There were even some men who liked her but were too ashamed to approach her. They decided to practice and improve themselves secretly to match her level first before pursuing her afterward.
Before Di Fuyi showed up, many of the men had held competitions and projects among themselves to show off their talents and abilities in front of Gu Xijiu.
Now that Di Fuyi was here and had introduced himself as her fiance, he had become the primary target among the men. Furthermore, he did not get along well with the folks in the village. Even though he had saved everyone the other night, most of them were still rather unfriendly to him.
Most of the folks would keep a distance whenever they saw him, and some of them did not even recognize him as a member of the village. It would be challenging for him to obtain their consents.
Obtaining everyone's consent was just one of the conditions. The men who wanted to marry would usually receive another challenge, and it had to be related to something that the person was unfamiliar with to benefit everyone else.
For instance, if a person were good at collecting herbs, he would have to go hunting alone for once and bring back a beast which tasted scrumptious. The beasts that satisfied this condition were usually fierce.
On the other hand, if a man was good at hunting, he would need to collect herbs and fruits for all the folks in the village. It was not an easy challenge, and the baboons would usually attack the man.
The men needed a lot of determination to get married because of these harsh conditions. They believed that after going through such a hard time, the men would learn to appreciate and care for the woman they loved.
Luo Zhanyu questioned him if he dared to accept the conditions based on their custom. At that moment, he was afraid that Di Fuyi would not accept the challenge, so he added, "Celestial Master Zuo, I know you are very powerful. However, if you insist on staying in your current situation, I will not be able to promise you anything. How are you planning to show your true love without proving anything? Didn't she feel insecure when she first ran away from you? I will doubt your ability to take care of my sister if you do not take the challenge and will never recognize you as my brother-in-law!"
His statement was loud and threatening.
Gu Xijiu felt impatient. She did not want anyone to interfere with her matters, including her brother.
She knew better than anyone else how deep Di Fuyi's love was for her. It was redundant to force him to partake in such challenges. Just as she was about to tell Luo Zhanyu off, Di Fuyi, who was standing next to her had already replied, "Luo Zhanyu, what happens between her and me is none of your business. Whether you recognize me as your brother-in-law or not is meaningless to me. However, since I have come all the way here to marry her, I would not let people gossip about her. I will do as the Romans do and follow the rules of this place. I hereby accept your challenge."
Luo Zhanyu had not expected Di Fuyi to accept his challenge so readily!
Gu Xijiu felt terrible and whispered to him, "You don't have to promise him anything. I don't care about what other people think about us."
Di Fuyi pulled her into his arms and smiled. He whispered into her ears, "It's okay, I'll be able to pass the tests easily based on my capabilities." He assumed that they would be here for some time, so he did not want anyone to comment and hurt her feeling. After all, he felt like they were illegal immigrants if they did not get the approval of the public. They would be mocked for this incident if he did not accept the challenge.
It was a done deal!
Di Fuyi nodded as a sign of approval. Luo Zhanyu stated another rule. "One more thing, unmarried men and women are not allowed to live together. Furthermore, the man is not allowed to see the woman either before the conditions are completed."
Both Di Fuyi and Gu Xijiu was speechless.
Celestial Master Zuo was a bit agitated and said, "I have a way to get everyone to agree with us. What is the strange thing that you want me to do? Say it out quickly." He was now feeling exceedingly burdened and was reluctant to follow Luo Zhanyu's rules as they had just started to fall in love with each other again. They had only spent one day together and now he was forced to separate from her again.
Luo Zhanyu coughed and replied, "About this… why don't you start working on completing your first task? Give me some time to think about your next task."
Di Fuyi was speechless. He responded, "I will give you an hour to figure it out. Do not let me wait for too long!"
"No problem!" Luo Zhanyu agreed. He then took Gu Xijiu by the hand. He said, "Xijiu, come with me. I have something to tell you."
Gu Xijiu was escorted away by her brother, leaving behind Di Fuyi to stand alone.
There were many people around the village today as they were still busy restructuring their homes and only a few of the villagers had gone out hunting or to collect herbs. Many of them had witnessed the conversation between Luo Zhanyu and Di Fuyi.
The crowd looked at Di Fuyi who was standing there looking all glorified. They had already made up their minds that they would not readily agree with this matter. Meanwhile, the ladies were sympathetic with Di Fuyi who would be facing the overwhelming challenge.
"What is the one thing that D Fuyi is bad at doing?" Luo Zhanyu asked his sister.
Gu Xijiu pursed her lips slightly and replied angrily, "I don't know!"
"Xijiu, are you angry at me?" Luo Zhanyu was silent for a moment before he asked.
Gu Xijiu replied impatiently, "I don't want anyone to interfere with my business." She was a modern woman and felt disgusted with people who intervened in her marriage, not to mention that the person responsible for giving them the hardship was her brother.
Luo Zhanyu was silent for a while. Finally, he responded, "Though you may think that your brother is doing nonsense, think about our mother. She disregarded her family and went to marry General Gu without even having a wedding ceremony. During that time, she was thrown a lot of negative comments from the crowd. People said that it was her willingness to marry him. When she and her husband quarreled, General Gu stated that he was kind enough to give her the title of General's Madam. It was common for someone her rank to be given the title of a concubine. He apologized later to our mother saying that he was reckless at that moment. However, you could tell a lot from his attitude. It was all because he felt that it wasn't hard to approach our mother and therefore he didn't appreciate her. Most men don't value women who are too easy to obtain. Well, I don't want you to follow our mother's footsteps. I hope he treats you as his treasure and loves you forever."
Gu Xijiu was touched after her brother told her what his opinion was. She sighed before responding, "Brother, I understand your concern. However, you don't know what have we been through together. Di Fuyi has done a lot for me in the past. We have faced countless hardships and death situations before. It was not easy for our relationship to develop to this level. We are not just an ordinary couple..."
Luo Zhanyu sighed and replied, "Well since you have put it this way, I will not deliberately make things difficult for him. I am just following the normal customs here. We have got to do it this way if we want to make the villagers recognize the both of you as a couple and to avoid gossips."
Gu Xijiu had no further comments.
Well then, do as the Romans do! She was also curious to find out how Di Fuyi is planning to get everyone's consent.
She had been staying here for more than ten days now. During her stay, she had studied and understood the personality of dozens of people. The men here worshipped the strong. Perhaps, it was because they had been living in a harsh environment for many years now. At the same time, they were not afraid of people with power or even death itself.
According to Baili Ce, they had been trained in such harsh environment since they were young. They were fearless, and would choose death over losing their pride! Hence, it is impossible for Di Fuyi to use his high-ranking title to pressure them into giving their approval. What method was he planning to use?
"So now my dear sister, what is he terrible at?" Luo Zhanyu had not forgotten his question.
It was a piece of cake for Di Fuyi to go hunting. Therefore, this challenge option was out. It was impossible to ask him to cook or do the laundry. It had to be something that could match a man's skills and ability.
Gu Xijiu sighed. She recalled that there was nothing much that Di Fuyi was not good at doing.
"He is not good at fishing!" Gu Xijiu suddenly thought of one.
Luo Zhanyu was skeptical. "Really?"
She immediately regretted after she said it. She recalled that Di Fuyi was weak at the moment, so how could she side with her brother to make his life hard.
She coughed and rectified. "No, I was kidding... He is not good at hunting..."
Luo Zhanyu looked at her and read her mind. He smiled and said, "Take him fishing... Let him catch fish for the whole village. He needs to catch enough fish for everyone to eat for a day."
Gu Xijiu was speechless.
The folks in the village were eagerly waiting for Di Fuyi to come and ask for their help. They had already cooked up numerous gimmicks in their stomachs to use against Di Fuyi. As a result, three days had passed since anyone saw Celestial Master Zuo.
However, he also kept his promise and did not find her for three days. He slept in his room at night as well. In the past three days, the folks in the village had finished rebuilding their homes and continued their normal daily activities. Those who were assigned to collect herbs went to work. The huntsmen went hunting. Gu Xijiu originally wanted to see what action Di Fuyi would take. However, since he had not shown himself, she forgot about it and took care of herself.
Luo Zhanyu was a bit upset when he saw Di Fuyi. He would remind him from time to time, but Di Fuyi chose to ignore him. No one knew his exact whereabouts.
It made Luo Zhanyu very furious. He went to visit Gu Xijiu from time to time.
"Oh man, this guy is smart. He knew that the moment he successfully caught your heart, you wouldn't run away from him. Look at him now. He does not care about you anymore."
"He probably thinks that you love him so much and he now possesses you. He knew that surely you wouldn't be able to calm down and would eventually go and find him. Therefore, he had grown to become more passive."
"Xijiu, I don't think he has you in his heart! Otherwise, he won't be acting this way."
He came to visit Gu Xijiu almost every day complaining about Di Fuyi.
In the end, she could not help but criticize him. "My dear brother, you are nagging so much like an old lady. It seems like your menopause is ahead of time. Let me give you a pill to calm your temper."
Gu Xijiu put a pill into Luo Zhanyu's palm.
Luo Zhanyu was puzzled and asked, "Xijiu, don't you feel hurt?"
Gu Xie shrugged. "Why should I be sad? I have faith in him."
Luo Zhanyu was speechless.
He pretended that he did not say anything from the beginning.
"By the way, why don't I see you in the cafeteria during dinner these days? You haven't eaten much. Do you feel uncomfortable?" Luo Zhanyu seemed to have thought of something and said quietly, "Don't tell me you're..."
Gu Xijiu stuffed the pills in between his lips to stop him from asking more and said quickly, "You are overthinking!"
Even if she wanted to get pregnant, she still needed to wait for another 40 days. Besides, she just had her period about 12 days ago.
In contrast, she was looking forward to being pregnant with his baby. She believed that their baby would be smart and outstanding.
"Why then do you not show up for dinner?" Luo Zhanyu was confused.
Gu Xijiu paused and told him the truth. "To be honest, he sends me my meals every day."
Luo Zhanyu was angry and responded, "It seems that he has gone against his words! He promised that he would not meet you before he gets married!"
Gu Xijiu continued to refine her medicine and raised her voice gently. "He never met me in person. I always find a hot meal waiting for me every time I am back." The food he prepared for her was wonderful although it was only a small portion. It was good enough for her to eat alone.
Luo Zhanyu was stunned and replied, "I didn't think he would cook ..."
Gu Xijiu smiled and said, "The food he brings for me is from the outside world. Well, he brings me food from all over the continent. He has brought some for me today as well."
She did not want to eat the meal provided here as the food prepared for her by Di Fuyi was more delicious and nutritious.
Luo Zhanyu was speechless.
He was annoyed and said, "Oh, so it's the food that is making you fall in love with him. He must have added something inside to make you more and more inseparable! This man is sinister!"
Gu Xijiu smiled and did not continue speaking.
What Luo Zhanyu had meant was that Di Fuyi had used food to treat her kindly, and she enjoyed it very much. She missed his sweet talks very much.
However, Gu Xijiu was kind of annoyed as Di Fuyi had not done anything so far. What was on his mind?
Di Fuyi was an unpredictable person.
For instance, when the villagers were fighting with the baboons as they had been attacked while collecting the fruits on the tree, Di Fuyi would suddenly appear on a branch somewhere nearby. He would then start walking on a thin vine as though a fairy had just landed on the tree. Therefore, his actions annoyed the villagers who were fighting so hard to survive.
Celestial Master Zuo did not interfere with the battle but he would extend some help when needed even though he could easily defeat the baboons. Everyone had heard about his ruthless behavior. Hence, no one expected him to offer his help.
The captain of the harvest team thought that Celestial Master Zuo would take the opportunity to ask for something in return. However, he surprised them. He played a song with his fingers, and all the baboons danced to it and forgot about chasing after the harvest team.
Those who had been rescued waited for him to ask for something in return. However, he just left without saying a single word. Everyone was stunned, and they looked at each other surprisingly.
Similarly, the hunting crew encountered the same incident. When the situation started getting out of hand, Celestial Master Zuo landed from the sky to rescue them from the danger and immediately left once they were saved.
The villagers were a group of passionate people, so they wanted to do something to return his favor. However, they could not find an opportunity to do so.
After a while, the people started letting their guards down and began to expect his arrival whenever they were in danger. Five days had passed since Di Fuyi began pointing out their weakness when he appeared. All of his comments were straightforward and useful, and everyone could not agree more.
Those people were big fans of martial arts, and eventually, some even sought his opinion. Occasionally, they were lucky enough to get some advice from him which was useful enough for them to sustain for a decade.
As time went by, other than the people who were competing or hated Di Fuyi very much, the rest had utterly compromised and even agreed with Di Fuyi and Gu Xijiu's wedding.
Di Fuyi was not an arrogant person and was quite easy going. Sometimes he even shared his wines with them. It was effortless for men to become friends when alcohol was involved. After several rounds of drinking, they have become close friends with Di Fuyi.
Not only did they agree to the wedding. Some even began convincing those who disagreed. They claimed that Gu Xijiu and Di Fuyi were meant to be a couple. He had even risked his life to find his wife and that was enough to prove his sincerity. In addition to the fact that Miss Gu loved him wholeheartedly, the villagers should not separate them as it was the right thing to do as a real man!
In ten days time, everyone in the village had agreed to the wedding except Baili Ce. All of them had expressed their agreement to Luo Zhanyu.
Luo Zhanyu was very surprised that Di Fuyi had managed to tame all the men, and so he looked up to Di Fuyi. Right now, he was waiting for Di Fuyi to get Baili Ce to agree to his wedding.
Everyone knew Baili Ce liked Gu Xijiu. He was also well known for his stubbornness, and so it was challenging to change his mind once he had decided to give it his best!
He was very firm on this matter, and no one could change his mind. He even unfriended those who tried persuading him. All of his friends did not dare to convince him to avoid unnecessary conflicts since he was so firm with his decision.
He showed no sign of agreeing with Di Fuyi even after two weeks had passed. Another two weeks had passed, and it was a gathering day again.
Everyone gathered, and Gu Xijiu came out from the alchemy lab to meet everyone.
It had been two weeks since she met Di Fuyi. Although, they never met each other up close and personal, they did look at each other from afar and carried on with their respective lives.
Plenty of grilled meats and food were served beside the campfire. However, they were not in the mood to talk or sing.
Though they have put aside the life and death matters since a long time ago, they were still depressed as they had lost several companions during the last gathering. Someone accidentally mentioned about the dead companions and the ambiance turned to become even more depressing.
Luo Zhanyu urged them to sit in a big circle and began playing a game to boost their spirits. However, they were not very good at the game he chose due to their limited vocabulary. In the end, they returned to their depressed mode, and Luo Zhanyu felt bad for them.
However, Gu Xijiu, who was sitting in one corner, suddenly suggested another game, 'Truth or Dare.'
Though it was probably a boring game for modern people, it was a new and exciting game for the villagers. Indeed, they seemed to be more lively now. Therefore, they began playing the game after Gu Xijiu had explained the rules.
Most of them chose to tell the truth and lost the game as they were worried about doing something overly risky if they chose 'dare.'
Gu Xijiu lost one game, and coincidentally the winner was Baili Ce. Baili Ce had drunk quite a lot. At the moment, he was looking at her with his eyes slightly reddenned. "Xijiu, do you prefer 'truth' or 'dare'?"
Gu Xijiu asked as she spun the chopstick between her fingertips. "What would I have to do if I choose 'dare' and what if I choose to tell the 'truth' instead?"
Baili Ce took a deep breath and said, "You'll need to kiss me publicly if you choose "dare". However, if you choose to tell the truth, then you'll need to answer my question honestly. No lying!"
Everyone silently watched as soon as he was finished talking.