“Village Chief, Long mou1 would like to follow you out to sea today,” Long Fei Li said.
(1. t/n: Here LFL referred to himself as “Long mou” and “mou” just means “somebody or such-and-such”. So he just gives his surname Long and not his full given name)
Looks of surprise coursed through the crowd. The Village Chief anxiously dissuaded, “Long gongzi, the seas are deep, the waves, strong and turbulent. More importantly, in recent days, a sea monster has been spotted. In the neighboring village, a few men have been killed, and a good number injured.…”
“Why do you suddenly want to go out to sea, gongzi?” Song Ni, who was helping her father organize his fishing gear, anxiously got to her feet and asked.
Long Fei Li glanced at Xuanji. A faint smile on his lips as he replied, “My wife’s craving some seafood.”
“Ohh well the silver you gave us last time is more than enough to buy as much seafood as you like. Whatever your wife wants to have, just tell us and A’Ni’s father can catch it for you,” the Village Chief’s wife laughingly said.
“That’s right, though you know how to swim, you’re not like those of use who grew up by the sea. Don’t go, let us take care of it,” another villager said.
If he doesn’t go, how am I to escape? Xuanji’s mind was racing. Pulling on Long Fei Li’s sleeve, she said, “I want to eat the fish you caught yourself.”
Her clear, gentle voice resonated through the crowd.
A few ladies shook their heads and thought to themselves: This lady is too spoiled with no sensibility. Isn’t she putting her husband’s life in danger?
Face reddening, Song Ni said, “Older sister, you’ll kill Long gongzi if you’re like this.”
As other villagers voiced their opinions, Xuanji began biting her lip, her expression crestfallen. Seeing this, Long Fei Li’s eyes darkened and he waited for the young man who was currently speaking to finish before he stated, “This is Long mou’s intentions. It has nothing to do with anyone else. I’d like to ask, has anyone here not ventured out to sea for the very first time? With continuous experience, you were able to become adept and make a profession out of fishing to support your wife. Long mou is like everyone else, and wants to do some work for my family.”
A few villagers present had seen the two of them being affectionate last night. Now seeing him spoiling his wife to this point, there was nothing more they could say. Especially with his tone of voice, though normal as usual, it made everyone’s heart raise with panic and for a moment, no one dared to say another word on the matter.
“Words can be easily spoken, actions are harder to perform! It’s best not to rely on one’s strength and show off,” a young man sneered.
It was Shui Sheng, the man Song Ni regarded as the number one fisherman in the village.
Many villagers present knew the reason for Shui Sheng’s displeasure. Ever since Long Fei Li’s arrival, Song Ni feelings towards him were written all over her face. As a man, how could Shui Sheng not be angry?
“Shui Sheng, how could you say such a thing, aren’t you going to quickly apologize to Long gongzi?” Song Ni angrily rebuked.
With a snort, Shui Sheng glared at Long Fei Li coldly and said, “A coarse man isn’t able to speak fancy words, he only knows to speak the truth.”
Smiling, Long Fei Li did not get angry and merely said, “On this subject, Long mou still has to rely on your pointers.”
Shui Sheng did not expect such a response. Momentarily, he was at a loss for words. Seeing this, one of his friends spoke up and said, “Long gongzi, how about a competition between you and Shui Sheng? See who can catch more fish within the hour. If Shui Sheng wins, you mustn’t continue entangling yourself with someone else’s woman.”
Xuanji found the situation somewhat comical. Although Long Fei Li did have a countenance that solicited disaster, since the very start, he had never made a pass at Song Ni.
Shui Sheng glanced at Song Ni and said, “Big brother’s idea is not bad. Let’s do it. The winner shall bring the woman he likes to Dragon Empress Temple to pray for Empress Zisu’s blessings.”
Dragon Empress Temple? Unexpectedly, the legend of the Dragon Empress Zisu was known throughout this village. Long Fei Li and Xuanji glanced at one another and she suddenly wondered, how did she know about the Dragon Empress Zisu? Long Fei Li whispered in her ear, “Have you really forgotten everything?”
His eyes flickered with suspicion as he looked at Xuanji. She too was perplexed but could only smile stiffly. When someone lost their memory, was it possible to just lose bits and pieces?
Stomping her foot indignantly, Song Ni’s cheeks were flushed red as her gaze landed on Long Fei Li. Lowering her eyes, she asked in a low whisper, “Gongzi, are you certain (of victory)?”
Neither Long Fei Li nor Xuanji were aware of this particular custom in the village of Taoyuan. When a young man and woman went to Dragon Empress Temple to pray, the Dragon Empress would bless them with a marriage. If a woman in the village was willing to go there with a man, it meant that the man’s family could send betrothal gifts to the woman’s family to propose marriage.
Voicing such an idea, Shui Sheng was clearly proposing to Song Ni.
Long Fei Li did not answer Song Ni’s question right away. His gaze was fixed on Xuanji, after a long while, he looked back and said with a smile, “Yes.”
Shui Sheng smiled coldly. “You’re not an expert, so I shall give you an additional hour. Moreover, if we were to catch the same number of fish, I’ll take it as my loss.”
Confident in his skills, he did not want to take advantage of the competition.
“Very well, thank you,” Long Fei Li faintly said.
Many girls smiled and ran over to tease Song Ni. Feeling embarrassed, Song Ni hid in her mother’s arms. Ever since she laid eyes on Long Fei Li, she had secretly promised her heart to him. Though she was aware he had a wife, he was handsome, noble and even came from a rich family. It was not easy to become a concubine of such a man. But now, seeing Long Fei Li agree to the competition, she thought that he must’ve been interested in her as well.
The air was bustling with excitement. The village Chief was an honest man. Unlike Song Ni, he did not think too much of the competition. He long had intentions of making Shui Sheng become his son-in-law. He did not think Long gongzi, a scholar, would be able to defeat Shui Sheng. Thus, to him, this was a good opportunity to settle the matter of his daughter’s marriage.
“I’ll have to bother the Village Chief to prepare some fishing gear for me,” Long Fei Li said.
“Gongzi, I’ll make the preparations for you,” Song Ni shyly said as she glanced at him.
“Then I’ll have to bother you. Long mou will follow after shortly,” Long Fei Li said. Then, to everyone’s surprise, he pulled Xuanji and quickly headed towards the back of the stone house.
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