The reason Su Wen had come here together with a bunch of classmates was to experience the 'rural' lifestyle, and although the experience he went through yesterday night was anything but pleasant, it was still a sort of novelty experience in his opinion. Not to mention, Gu Xiqiao and Tang Qinghong were present, so he was not worried in the least.
Baixing Village was surrounded by mountains and rivers, there was a mountain to the north and a man-made pool underneath the mountain, the stream flowing down from the top of the mountain would flow into this pool. Every summer, the villagers would gather together and fish at the pond. During this time, the water in the pond would be drained slightly, leaving it with a shallow enough height so that everyone could go down into the waters.
Gu Xiqiao was not attracted to these sort of activities, even back when Yu Man was around, and they had never gone down to fish at the pond either. However, the villagers would always leave a few fatter fishes for them.
On the other hand, Shi Tou was extremely excited about it. This child seemed to be filled with endless energy, whenever he heard of something interesting he would sprint over, and before he reached there would already be shouts in the air. Since this year there were additional people including Su Wen, it was a more lively scene than usual, as the young boys and girls of the village were struggling to show off their skills.
There were also a bunch of girls that were as pretty as flowers standing on the bank, which were Su Wen's classmates. They were standing with umbrellas in their hands, clearly disliking the idea of the mud and pond below, but that itself was not enough to curb their interest of the happenings in it. Whereas Su Wen and the other guys were not so particular about it as they all took off their shoes, rolled up their trousers and went down into the pond.
Bao Xinyi was among the other girls that were on dry land, and seeing Gu Xiqiao slowly approaching the area, the group of girls began whispering to each in low voices while staring at her. Their gazes were all on Gu Xiqiao, to the point that she wondered if there was something stuck in her teeth for them to stare at her so hard.
In the end, Gu Xiqiao chose to turn a blind eye to them. She stood calmly under the tree, looking to be at peace with the world at large.
It was better to be alone than with that large group.
"You're not going down? Weren't you the one making a fuss about coming here?" Gu Xiqiao said, glancing down at Shi Tou. The younger was staring at the pond with bright eyes, clearly filled with eagerness to try whatever he could.
Hearing Gu Xiqiao's words, Shi Tou's eyes lit up, but then he seemed to think of something, and then lowered his gaze. "Forget it, it's better not to go down. Someone from the neighboring village almost drowned while taking a bath last month, so my mom won't let me go."
Rubbing her fingers together, Gu Xiqiao glanced at the people in the pond. A flash went through her eyes, but it was fleeting, before she said, "Then it's best to be obedient."
Li Yanmei had also gone down to the pond, but she hadn't been in it for long before her father came after her to chase her out of it. She glanced around, and found Gu Xiqiao standing on the bank, and turned to head towards her.
"You weren't here just now," Li Yanmei said, wiping her hands. She smiled at Shi Tou, before stepping closer to Gu Xiqiao. "Jia Wei had a lot to say about you."
"What did she say?" Gu Xiqiao asked, pulling out a piece of paper and handing it to her.
Li Yanmei accepted it before continuing, "She said…" She seemed to struggle to continue, instead staring at Gu Xiqiao closely, her bright black eyes holding a serious glint. "Do you have a car, the kind that is very expensive?"
Once she heard those words, Gu Xiqiao knew what had happened. She looked back into Li Yanmei's eyes and said, "The car was obtained legally, don't listen to the nonsense that they are saying."
"I knew it," Li Yanmei said, letting out a breath of relief. "That damn Jia Wei, that lying problem of hers hasn't changed a single bit over the years!"
"Speaking of which, there shouldn't be any bad blood between me and Jia Wei, right?" Gu Xiqiao furrowed her brows in confusion. She was aware that she wasn't really good with people, but she wasn't bad to this extent, right? "This doesn't seem to be the first time she's targeted me?"
Li Yanmei blinked, staring at Gu Xiqiao without saying anything for a while, before replying, "Have you forgotten?"
"What?" An elegant brow arched up.
"When you were in your first year of junior high, there was always some boy that looked for you?" Li Yanmei said, while Gu Xiqiao tilted her head to the side, confusion clear on her face. "The most sought after boy in our class, the one where only a handful of girls in our school didn't have a crush on? Jia Wei was set on chasing him, but before she even made a move, he fell for you instead. You really don't remember any of this?"
Gu Xiqiao blinked slowly. Junior high, that was a long time ago. She sighed. "I really don't remember, is that the reason she won't get along with me?"
"She worked so hard to treat you as her rival, but fortunately for you, you didn't need to do anything and managed to capture the heart of the most sought after boy." Li Yanmei laughed. At that time, Gu Xiqiao was still young, but she was not any less beautiful. With her snow-white skin, and the fact that Yu Man had never allowed her to use inappropriate language, it made her completely unlike a countryside bumpkin, but that was also a long time ago.
"I guess Jia Wei must have been foaming at the mouth when that happened, it's not like you're unaware of her ego. She went to the city to further her studies after third grade, and that was also because she was mad at you."
"If I knew that was the case, I would have sat down to talk to her. This wasn't the way to go about it," Gu Xiqiao said with a straight face.
Li Yanmei: I feel sorry for Jia Wei.
The two didn't talk after that, shifting their gaze to the fish pond. Ever since Gu Xiqiao had come, the young people in the pond were suddenly more energetic. When they were idle, they would look over at her direction, and everyone would greet her from a distance from time to time. It showed how popular Gu Xiqiao was among the villagers.
"Sister Gu, I'll hang a portrait of you on the tree the next time I go to the field." Shi Tou said, squatting down under the tree as he looked at the fish pond.
Gu Xiqiao couldn't keep up with his thoughts for a while. "What for?"
"It's the eldest son in the Li family, that lazy bum, he managed to pull in two nets of fishes in such a short time." Shi Tou said instead of replying her, pointing down at someone. "You know that lazy ass who usually doesn't bother to move on normal days."
Li Yanmei stretched her head out, and then she covered her mouth with her hands to hide the smile behind it, "That's right, before you came, he would laze around beside the pond, getting scoldings from Uncle Li all the time."
"... you don't need to say anymore." These two were continuing each other's sentences, even Gu Xiqiao who was thick faced to a certain extent felt uncomfortable, knowing where the conversation was leading to. "Shi Tou, I thought you wanted to go down?"
Shi Tou was immediately distracted. "That's right, Sister Gu, will you talk to my mom?"
Gu Xiqiao squinted her eyes slightly, then she placed her hand on top of Shi Tou's head. Shi Tou felt slightly puzzled, and thought he felt a feeling of warmth on top of his head. It disappeared the next second, as though it had never happened in the first place. Her pale pink lips curled up slightly, "Go on down and look for your father. If he says anything, just tell him that I allowed you to go."
"Oh," Shi Tou answered calmly, but his hands were quick in removing his shoes, jumping down like an excited bunny.
"He really only listens to you," Li Yanmei said with a sigh. She turned to look at Gu Xiqiao's smooth, delicate face, not understanding how Shi Tou's mind worked. "You don't know how much trouble he was during your absence, even the village chief didn't know what to do with him."
Gu Xiqiao smiled, staring motionlessly at the center of the pond, until Shi Tou reached the village chief's side.
When the village chief saw Shi Tou, his brows furrowed together. Since he couldn't do anything about it, he let the child follow him. It wasn't a lie to say that Shi Tou listened to Gu Xiqiao. Ever since he went down to the pond, he had stuck to the village chief's side, not wandering off on his own.
The pond was large, and there were not many people at the center. The village chief together with a few of the youngsters were pulling a net toward it, but when they reached the center, he slipped and went down.
In order to store water, there were several wells dug in the pond. The wells were not deep, but the height was definitely more than an average adult. There hadn't been any problems with it in the past, everyone knew how to avoid it, but it seemed that the village chief had forgotten the placements today and had stepped right into one. His legs felt like it was heavy with lead, slipping slowly into the mud down the well, and his eyes widened with horror.
"Dad? What are you doing?" Shi Tou said, turning his head. He patted the village chief's exposed shoulder. "Hurry up, don't be lazy."
The moment Shi Tou touched him, the village chief felt his entire body lighten, and his trapped legs were able to move. He hauled himself up immediately, feeling slightly dazed and muddled, his gaze inadvertently traveled toward the shore. "Shi Tou, Little Gu was the one that asked you to come down here."
"Uh huh," Shi Tou replied disinterestedly, leaning down to touch his feet.
The village chief stood without moving for a while, before returning to normal and proceeded with pulling in the fishes like usual. However, there was a hint of worry in his eyes, and he glanced around at the villagers in the waters, a feeling of anxiety gripping his heart.
Gu Xiqiao, who had been watching the entire time, turned away to talk to Li Yanmei. After a while, Jia Wei sauntered over to where they were standing with a few other girls, "Miss Gu, it's been a while."
"Hello." Gu Xiqiao said, giving them a stunningly warm smile.
The girls gritted their teeth secretly, and one of them said, "Miss Gu, we heard that you're an orphan?"
Gu Xiqiao replied affirmatively, taking out her phone as she did, not intending to hide that fact.
Jia Wei looked at the phone in her hands, before exclaiming in surprise, "That's the newest model which costs about seven to eight thousand dollars! Little Gu, you really have a lot of money!"
"I don't think it's her that's rich." The girl beside Jia Wei snorted. "The phone was just released in July, and it hadn't even reached the mainland yet. If she can get it, it's probably due to the money her godfather has, right?"
Nowadays, people had a funny mentality. When they see their peers driving branded cars or having branded items, they can't tell whether they feel jealous or contempt toward the person. After struggling to identify the feelings, they would then turn to the cynical type of thinking, placing themselves at a higher moral ground than the other party to comfort themselves. On the internet, these types of people were called 'keyboard warriors'.
Gu Xiqiao deliberately waved her phone for them to have a better look. "Are you envious, you can go and find one too~"
Jia Wei's face was changing colors rapidly at Gu Xiqiao's sing-song voice, it was quite interesting to look at.
"Bah!" Li Yanmei couldn't hold back her laugh, she knew that even all together, these girls would have nothing on Gu Xiqiao's sassiness.
"Little Gu, let's head back, you haven't done acupuncture for my mom yet today." Li Yanmei coughed lightly, leading Gu Xiqiao away. If she let things go on, she was afraid that Gu Xiqiao would piss the others off, those people were still big shots in the village after all. She was also afraid that Gu Xiqiao would cause trouble if she was annoyed, so she made up the excuse to lead her away.
Gu Xiqiao was not about to get pettier than those little girls, so she followed Li Yanmei to leave. As soon as she left, the hot-blooded young men in the pond all withered down.
Jia Wei watched the slim figure walk away, and she bit her lip angrily. The girls beside her lost interest too, and so they returned to their resting spot. Bao Xinyi glanced at the girls who had returned, and said mockingly, "Stop serving as Jia Wei's gun, or you'll probably die without knowing the reason."
The girls wouldn't dare to provoke Bao Xinyi. They had seen Jia Wei coming back by car with Bao Xinyi, and had assumed that she had a close relationship with the two of them. However it looked like that was not the case at all!
The few of them exchanged looks with each other, and as though reaching a decision inside, their gazes turned cold, looking at Jia Wei who was also making her way to the shade.
Gu Xiqiao followed Li Yanmei back, giving Aunt Li her needle treatments. After boiling some medicine together, Gu Xiqiao then left for her own home. As soon as she opened the gate to the yard, she caught sight of Tang Qinghong, who was pacing around the stone table.
He had rested for a day, and adding on the medicine that Gu Xiqiao had given him, his injuries were more or less healed, once again returning to the state of beauty that he usually was.
"You're back." Hearing the gates open, he turned his head slightly, giving her a smile that felt like a spring breeze blowing in a season of blooming flowers.
Narrowed, clear eyes looked at him, a clear voice responding, "Did you put something in my yard?"
Being well aware of her abilities, Tang Qinghong didn't bother denying it. "When I got here, I felt that something was wrong with your house, that's the reason why I forced my way in to occupy the place." He coughed lightly, feeling slightly uncomfortable, "The medicine you gave me last night helped me recover my strength, so I thought that I would be able to resolve the problem here now."
The magical effect of the medicine was already a miracle, overturning everything he knew about the ancient martial arts world. If word about it got out, it would definitely rock the entire ancient martial arts world!
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