Gu Xijiu glimpsed at him. "Truth!"
"Xijiu, would you fall in love with me if Celestial Master Zuo was not here? I want to know your honest thoughts. Please answer me with your heart. Please, don't just give me an answer without thinking about it seriously."
Gu Xijiu looked calm. "I think I can answer you right now. No. I can treat you like a companion and friend, but we will never be a couple. I do not have any feelings for you."
Her voice sounded icy cold, and it destroyed Baili Ce's dream. His face turned pale. "Do you like Celestial Master Zuo that much? Even if I don't agree with your marriage; even you don't get to reunite with him; even if your reputation might be ruined? You do not have any regrets?"
Gu Xijiu took one fruit and casually answered, "To be frank, no one can stop us if we both insist on being together. We're already engaged even before we came here, and I would have already legally and officially married him if the accident had not happened. Honestly, I don't care about rumors or criticisms that you guys spread behind our backs. I don't care about other people's judgment as I think this is a matter between him and me. Everyone else has no right to comment."
She glanced at the crowd, and they looked back at her as well. She added, "The reason why Di Fuyi had accepted the challenge from my brother was to prevent me from being judged and also to protect my brother's image. The reason he is willing to follow the culture here is that he respects me. He wished that all of your blessings shower me. However, the rules and cultures here can't restrict me from loving him. Who I love is none of your business. I'd be pleased if all of you can give me your blessing. However, I can only apologize in advance as our friendship will need to end here if you take this opportunity to seek revenge!"
Beili Ce's face turned pale.
Girls were usually shy. They were not used to voicing out their thoughts when the men were trying their best to get everyone's permission to marry them. The girls would only watch their future husbands work very hard or even be teased by other people, but they would do nothing about it other than watch.
Meanwhile, Gu Xijiu was talking about it publicly, and she did not find it awkward to share her feelings. She had intended to indirectly warn Baili Ce so that he did not cross the line between their friendship. Otherwise, they might not be able to be friends anymore.
This girl was very calm and strong-willed! She was also fearless and intelligent. It was Di Fuyi's honor to have her as his wife! A few men who once faced a lot of difficulties before marrying their women looked at Gu Xijiu respectfully.
Baili Ce lowered his chin and took a deep breath. "Don't worry, Xijiu. I'll not make your life difficult anymore. I just wanted to know whether it's worth for me to pull out from this competition."
Gu Xijiu lifted the wine bottle with a half grin. "Thanks, let's toast! No matter what happens, thanks for your care and love."
Baili Ce finished his drink, and it was an indication that he had offered his blessings to her.
Luo Zhanyu gazed at Gu Xijiu strangely. He was amazed and surprised that Gu Xijiu could get Baili Ce's approval. After all, he was a complicated person.
Someone glanced around and asked, "Hey, where's Celestial Master Zuo? I haven't seen him for several days now."
Everyone said the same thing. None of the villagers had seen Celestial Master Zuo for almost three days.
In fact, Gu Xijiu did not want to attend the campfire as she was rather busy making pills. However, she thought that she would take the opportunity to meet Di Fuyi here since she had not seen him for more than ten days. She thought she could at least see him from afar even though they could not talk to each other. Unfortunately, he did not attend the campfire, and so she was slightly disappointed.
She even got a bit upset. It was true that according to the rules, he was not supposed to see her. However, he could always secretly pay a visit. He knew that she did not care about the annoying rules. How could he not come and visit her!?
Celestial Master Zuo always neglected the rules, but this time, he took it so seriously to the extent that she wanted to punch him. They had not seen each other in days. Did Di Fuyi even miss her?
Sigh, he did not seem to miss her!
Gu Xijiu gazed down and took a sip of wine. She suddenly said, "It's boring to sit down and chat. Let me sing you a song."
Gu Xijiu had not sung before since she came here so no one knew that she could sing! Thus, everyone clapped their hands to support her.
The best singer in here was Huang Shangxiang, and she was always proud of her talent. Since Gu Xijiu had suggested singing, she smiled and said, "You're right. It will be more fun to sing and dance. It's always good to sing regardless of whether one can or not."
She then looked at Gu Xijiu with a gaze full of encouragement. "Miss Gu, try your best. No one would laugh at you even if you didn't sing well. Just take it as throwing a sprat to catch a mackerel. I'll also sing a song for everyone later."
Gu Xijiu was speechless. She almost laughed out loud!
Perhaps, Gu Xijiu had gotten too famous recently, and Huang Shangxiang was jealous. Although she was punished, she still had not learned her lesson to be more humble. She was always trying to trick Gu Xijiu over and over again even though she could only hurt Gu Xijiu's feelings verbally. Gu Xijiu was not bothered by her. Hence, she ignored Huang Shangxiang.
Huang Shangxiang was kind of proud of herself for being on the advantageous side. Hence, she added as she glanced around, "Do you want to see me dance and sing?"
She understood the effect of marketing as well as the relationship between demand and supply. Thus, she did not merely sing and dance, but occasionally, she would sing a song to entertain everyone after being coaxed continuously by the villagers. Besides that, everyone must cheer for her. Otherwise, she would be upset and refused to sing anymore. Just because of that, the men would pamper her by passionately cheering for her when she sang and danced.
Everyone was quite happy when she offered to sing and dance. However, she had intended to embarrass Gu Xijiu. Hence, everyone simply expressed their opinion after looking at each other. "We would love to see both of you sing and dance."
"Could you, please? Let us learn something from the both of you…"
They were a group of smart people. Hence, they would not offend both ladies.
Huang Shangxiang was a little upset, but she did not show her dissatisfaction. She insisted on fighting for her pride in singing and dancing so that she could be the center of everyone's attention again.
Some of the villagers were playing musical instruments. One of them even had a zenith, and he could play it quite well. He quickly offered to play for them. "Let me play some music for the both of you."
Huang Shangxiang looked at Gu Xijiu. "Miss Gu, why don't you go first?"
Gu Xijiu looked at her with a strange expression. "Are you sure?"
"Of course! I'm afraid that you might lose interest after seeing me sing and dance. It's very rare seeing you sing. Since everyone is waiting for you, it might not be a good idea to disappoint them, right?" Huang Shangxiang replied as though she was a very understanding person.
Gu Xijiu smiled. "Fine, I'll sing first!"
It was meaningless to argue with this kind of person. It was their abilities that mattered the most!
The man asked Gu Xijiu, "Miss Gu, what song would you like to sing? You can try to hum the melody so that I can prepare myself."
Gu Xijiu paused for a second and then passed a piece of music scores to him. He saw that it was a piece of music called "Qing Yu An". The zenith player immediately cheered after he took a look at the music score. "Good choice!"
Indeed, the zenith player was quite talented. He was able to play the song after only trying several keystrokes. Gu Xijiu spun around and began to sing,
"The nightfall was sending off the clouds and the sunset outside the city.
I was dreaming of the light boat in the middle of the night.
The ancient town looked empty as it poured heavily.
The shadow lengthened, and your image was reflected on the heaven's mirror."
Right after she had finished singing the first part, her surrounding was immediately filled with silence.
Her singing was fantastic!
No one had expected to hear such a lovely voice. Everyone looked at Gu Xijiu in utter shock.
Even though the villagers were not as talented in music, they had an excellent sense of hearing! Everyone loved a good piece of music, and they immediately fell in love with her voice.
The zenith player was considered a very talented person, and he did not merely perform for anyone. Today, he only decided to help as Gu Xijiu had intended to cheer them up. He was well prepared that Gu Xijiu would miss one or two keys when she sang and he would try his best to correct it. However, his heart skipped a beat when Gu Xijiu began to sing! His eyes instantly sparkled!
She possessed such a lovely voice. Suddenly, he realized that his ability to play the zenith was too lousy, and he felt embarrassed playing for her. In the beginning, he did not have any motivation to perform. However, he was now very excited and could not wait to try his best.
Gu Xijiu was not only good at singing, but she was also fantastic at dancing. She was wearing a light turquoise dress today. The dress was fluttering as she spun underneath the moonlight. She was like a bright flower in the dark.
Everyone held their breath as they were afraid to ruin such a fantastic performance. Some people who were literate in music felt slightly disappointed as better music should accompany such a fantastic performance as they realized that the zenith player was not good enough.
Suddenly, the sound of a flute was heard when Gu Xijiu sang the fifth phrase. The sound of the flute was as light as the wind as though the breeze carried it from the forest. However, it completely covered the sound of the zenith.
Though it had shown up randomly, it matched the singing perfectly. It was as though the voice and the music played from the flute was the best combination in the world.
The zenith player reluctantly tried following the keys, but eventually, he stopped as he realized that something was not right. There was only a person who could play such fantastic music with a flute!
That person was Celestial Master Zuo!
He was finally here!
Gu Xijiu's heart beat slightly faster, but she continued singing as though she was not affected by his arrival.
"The moon disappeared from the sky during the twilight, and the mist covered the sky.
The cloud was stained with blood as I said goodbye.
I wrote this song with my love and tears.
Today onwards, no one knows these hundreds of types of different feelings in my heart as we are going to be apart."
The combination of the sound of the flute, the singing, and the dance was powerful enough to silence every living thing in between the Heaven and the Earth. Even the wind had become so gentle when it blew across their skin.
Though the song and the music had stopped, the echo continued lingering around. Everyone only regained consciousness when the echo had faded away.
A big round of applause then followed it!
The villagers have never heard and seen such a fantastic performance before!
Gu Xijiu returned to her seat and said as she glimpsed at Huang Shangxian. "The stage is all yours. I've done my part. Please, show me your talent."
Huang Shangxiang remained silent.
Everyone shook their head as they thought that Huang Shangxiang's performance was like a children's performance when compared to Gu Xijiu's.
Huang Shangxiang was stunned as she sat there with a pale face. She did not dare to get up and do her part. In her mind, she probably could not wait to run away!
However, since she had offered to perform just now, it would not look right to retreat now. She hesitated at that moment about what she should do. Di Fuyi landed from the tree with a flute in one of his hands and a pail in the other hand. Although the scene looked strange, he still looked elegant as usual.
"Celestial Master Zuo, you're finally here!"
"Yes, we haven't seen you for three days…"
"Celestial Master Zuo, you're so skilled at playing the flute! It was such an amazing combination to Miss Gu's singing…"
Di Fuyi had gotten quite close to them recently. Hence, everyone greeted him happily with smiles on their face. They have recognized him as part of their community.
Di Fuyi slightly smiled. He looked lazily around, and his gaze stopped directly on Gu Xijiu. His eyes were sparkling in the dark. It was even brighter than the starlight in the sky.
Gu Xijiu was still sitting there with her arms wrapped around both of her knees. She smiled and nodded as their gaze met. She then turned around to talk to the other villagers without looking back at him.
Di Fuyi narrowed his eyes. 'It seemed that this little girl was upset.'
Did she think that he had acted too slowly? In fact, he was already panicked.
Everyone looked at the pail in his hand, and they heard the sound of water. They then stretched their neck to peek into the bucket and realized that there was a fish inside.
The fish looked strange as it was half red and half silver. It was quite adorable as it looked like a carp with a big head.
"Hey, is this the Silver Cloud Carp? Celestial Master Zuo, were you fishing all this while?"
"This fish is very tricky. It's not easy to catch one! Celestial Master Zuo must be quite good at fishing since he was able to catch one!"
"Although it's not easy to catch one, it's very nutritious and tasty. Celestial Master Zuo, who are you planning to give the fish to?"
The crowd began discussing.
Gu Xijiu seemed to have recalled something. She remembered that she had boiled some soup with this fish for Baili Ce before, but he was distraught as Celestial Master Zuo had taken it away from him.
A pleasant fragrance slipped into her nostrils as a shadow flashed nearby her while she was trying to figure things out.
Di Fuyi had appeared by her side. He did not talk to her directly but gently said to the lady on the left Gu Xijiu, "Could you move a little, please?"
The lady was a smart person. Besides, no one would reject Celestial Master Zuo's request when he spoke gently. Thus, she immediately got up and left.
Di Fuyi then sat down beside Gu Xijiu.
Gu Xijiu had not seen him for more than ten days. Her heart was racing when she smelled his odor and when his arms accidentally touched hers as he sat down.
She silently moved away a little.
Luo Zhanyu who was sitting on her right glimpsed at Di Fuyi. "Celestial Master Zuo, according to the rules, you shouldn't be seeing and talking to Xijiu. I think that it's inappropriate for you to sit here."
Di Fuyi placed the pail on the ground. "This is a common area. Don't you think that it's normal if I saw her? I didn't even talk to her. The reason I decided to sit here is because of the view."
Luo Zhanyu was speechless as everyone was sitting in a circle. How was it considered a beautiful view?
However, what Di Fuyi said was right as well. Hence, he could not argue with him. Just as he was about to say something, Gu Xijiu suddenly got up and walked towards the griller. She then found another seat further away from Di Fuyi after taking a slice of meat from the griller.
Di Fuyi was stunned and speechless.
He was sure that she was mad over something, but he had no clue what it was.
Gu Xijiu did not make it obvious. Hence, everyone did not care so much as they thought that she was trying to avoid rumors. However, it was quite pitiful for Di Fuyi.
Fortunately, all the married men were once as pitiful as him. Hence, they understood his feelings and tried comforting Celestial Master Zuo.
Generally, everyone was keen to know more about the fish that he had caught. The fish was edible and also suitable for girls to keep as a pet. They wondered whether Di Fuyi wanted to give it to Gu Xijiu.
Gu Xijiu was also wondering why he had caught that fish. She did glimpse at the pail earlier and noticed that the fish was as big as the one she used to cook the soup. Even the pattern on the fish scales was the same.
Di Fuyi's gaze was now on Baili Ce. He immediately felt fearful as Di Fuyi was looking right at him. However, he straightened his back and met Di Fuyi's gaze. "What is it now?"
Di Fuyi casually said, "It was my fault for taking away your fish soup. This fish is for you as my way of compensating you. It's the same fish. You can examine it by yourself."
He flicked his hand, and the pail immediately flew towards Baili Ce.
The fish was for him?!
Subconsciously, Baili Ce glimpsed inside the pail and realized that the fish was indeed the same as the one he had given to Gu Xijiu. He was stunned.
He knew better than anyone else how difficult it was to catch that fish. It was a rare species and grew to different sizes. It was challenging for Di Fuyi to find one which was around the same size, let alone the same size as the one Baili Ce had found himself.
He was stunned for a moment. His gaze returned to Di Fuyi. "How long did you spend catching the fish?"
Di Fuyi answered casually, "Not that long. Around three days."
He had gone missing for three days to catch a fish!
Someone quickly responded and said with his eyes wide open, "I'm sure Celestial Master Zuo had caught many of the same fish over the last three days, right? How many did you fish before you found the one which was the same as Baili Ce's fish?"
"Not that many." Di Fuyi casually answered as he lifted his hand. Eight pails appeared in front of him, and bubbles were floating in every bucket. The buckets were full of different fishes of different sizes. There were probably 60 to 70 fishes in total!
Everyone was speechless.
He had waited at the same place for three days to catch a similar fish to compensate someone.
His apology was sincere!
Everyone was touched and looked at Baili Ce.
Baili Ce was touched as well. He suddenly sighed as he looked at the fish. "I have lost, Celestial Master Zuo! You have my sincere blessings. I'll not interfere with your wedding anymore…"
He had lost! He had completely lost!
When he told Gu Xijiu that he would take a step back earlier, he was doing a favor for her, and it had nothing to do with Di Fuyi. However, he finally gave up as he looked at the fish! He was willing to lose to Di Fuyi!