Through her efforts, Shen Xi hoped she could buy an air conditioner for her home as soon as possible and some common household appliances.

A little extra would not hurt either.

An elite school was out of the question; she had no money to pay the school’s fees.
So long as she transferred to an ordinary high school, the tuition fees probably would not be as expensive as at Zhuo Ying Middle School.

Entering a new school was always a new experience, and though she was about to start her third year in high school, it did not lessen how nerve-wracking the process would be.
Adapting to a new school environment would take time.
Still, Shen Xi believed she would do well regardless of the school she transferred to since she had always kept up her grades.

It was not hard for Shen Xi to find a part-time job.
The accumulation of a lifetime’s worth of experience and the practice she had had since gaining this second lease at life was enough to land her a job in a relatively high-end art school.

With summer vacation in full swing, many parents had opted to send their children for extra-curricular lessons, so the art school’s pay for talented part-timers like Shen Xi was considerable.

Shen Xi spent the whole day in Rongcheng city and only returned home late in the evening.

Tomorrow would be her first official day working part-time at the art school, so she thought it would be a good idea to tell her parents.

When Shen Xi pushed open the door to their humble stone cottage, Shen Yan heaved a sigh of relief.
Happily, he called his wife, “Honey! Xixi is home.”

Lu Shan hurried out of the kitchen upon hearing her husband.
The sight of Shen Xi standing at the door was so moving that she broke out in tears of happiness.
Her daughter did not abandon them.
Her daughter did not dislike them, and she had returned safe and sound.

Shen Xi had gone out in the morning and, around lunch, had sent word home saying she would not be back till later in the evening.

Lu Shan’s first thought was that Shen Xi could not stand their family’s poor financial situation and planned to return to the Jiang family.
Even so, Lu Shan stubbornly clung to the hope that Shen Xi would come home.
That belief prompted her to cook for the first time in her life – to prepare a meal for her precious daughter.

Shen Xi was caught by surprise.
Why was her mother crying again? Did something happen? Was she being bullied?

“Mom, why are you crying? Is something wrong? Did the Jiang family come knocking?” Shen Xi eyed the house warily, searching for any sign that would indicate the Jiang family’s appearance.

Lu Shan dried her tears and said, “No, they didn’t come.
I just haven’t seen you for a day.
I missed you.”

Lu Shan cut a strange figure with a spatula in one hand and bits of grass and wood dust in her other.
While drying her tears, she unknowingly smeared the dirt on her face, but that did not stop her from laughing.

Shen Yan wiped his wife’s face and smiled teasingly, “Okay, okay.
Don’t cry.
You don’t look good when you cry.”

He turned to Shen Xi and said, “Your mother wanted to cook dinner for you; she would not even let me help her with the firewood!”

Before Shen Xi could express her gratitude, Shen Yan had already returned to comfort his wife.
“Be good.
Don’t cry, or you’ll make me sad too.”

Shen Xi was so mortified by her parents’ casual display of affection that she could barely taste her mother’s cooking.
Perhaps it was a blessing in disguise since the blackened monstrosity she was eating was better off as charcoal than food for human consumption.

Thankfully, Shen Yan anticipated how his wife’s cooking would turn out and had prepared a simple dinner on the side.
Otherwise, Shen Xi would have gone to bed hungry.

Before calling it a day, Shen Xi told her parents she wanted to learn more about the arts and that she would spend some time in Rongcheng every day over the summer holidays.

Shen Yan and his wife accepted Shen Xi’s explanation quite readily.
Thus began Shen Xi’s days as a part-timer teaching painting and calligraphy in Rongcheng.

Shen Xi was gentle-natured and had a good temperament.
She was bold and taught her classes without any sign of nervousness.
With her sound knowledge, Shen Xi quickly made a name for herself in the art school.

Everyone in Rongcheng soon learned of a promising young teacher who had started teaching at the Six Arts Workshop, the art school Shen Xi taught at.

“Xixi, another parent here would like you to teach their child.
Are you willing to take on another student?” The owner of the art school, Li Si, asked Shen Xi, who was creating teaching plans for her classes.

It had been less than a month since Shen Xi started at Li Si’s art school, but she had already increased business and spread the school’s fame by several folds.
Li Si, like any business owner, was pleased by this development.

Shen Xi looked up and said rather awkwardly, “My private lessons are fully booked; I can’t take on any more students.”

Li Si pulled a chair and sat down.
“They said they would leave a deposit, and you would be free to start lessons whenever possible.
Time isn’t an issue.”

Shen Xi thought of her poverty-stricken family and finally nodded in agreement.

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