Chapter 16 – Five Years Later

In this era, most of the people who visit the antique market were either retired elderly or middle-aged collectors.
It was very seldom to see young people visiting, not to mention a ten-year-old child like Xia Shao.

Xia Shao walked conspicuously through the antique market, but most people thought that she was with her parents.
Thus, when she walked up to the stall and asked for prices, the stall owners seeing that she was a child, simply thought that she was buying it for fun like those bottles and jars.

No one tried to con her, nor argue the prices with her.
All the stall owners didn’t believe that she could identify those antiques so they just simply tried to send her away with random prices.

Unexpectedly, Xia Shao actually bought a snuff bottle for 20 yuan.

The stall owner squeezed the money in his hand and stared at her walking back view for a long time before shaking his head and sighed: “Whose child is this, wasting money at such a young age…… her dress looks like from an ordinary family.
Children these days don’t know how difficult it was for the parents to earn money and just spend it away like this…… Forget it, why should I bother, that junk cost around 5 yuan, so it was still a good profit.”

However, unfortunately, in the distance, Xia Shao’s gaze fell on the faint layer of Qi wrapped around the snuff bottle in her hand.
A faint smile spread across her face while she put it away in her bag.

From then on, Xia Shao could be found roaming in the antique market in the East City almost every weekend.
Over time, all the stall owners in the market basically recognised her, and some even laughed and referred to her as the youngest collector.

A few stall owners who knew her well would greet her with enthusiasm when they saw her coming.
Most of the time, she just smiled it away and shook her head when the stall owner tried to upsell those items to her.
No adult could match her temperament and composure in that smile of calmness.

This often baffles those stall owners, but in terms of identifying, Xia Shao behaved like a child.
She would ask for objects that look good or poorly made, even those items that were obviously fake, she would still ask about them.

Unknown to others, this was exactly what Xia Shao was so brilliant at.

At her age, she was very eye-catching when she wandered around the antique market.
Thus, naturally, she wasn’t that stupid enough to use her Divine Eyes for hunting the antique openly and asked for the price when she spotted an object then pay for it straight.

Although searching for treasure was all about finding the pearl in the middle of fakes, even fakes were made to look old.
Naturally, she would have to pick up some very obviously fake items to ask for a price, so that she could fish in troubled water and not be seen by some ill-intentioned people.

Occasionally, when she found an authentic piece and noticed that someone was watching behind her, she would pick it up, faked some nit-picking, and purchased it with some other obviously fake goods to confuse them.
She had been shopping a lot and knew the prices of various items in the market, thus she always managed to pick the cheapest valued items each time.

Even so, Xia Shao was crying in her heart: I don’t have so much money to spare!

With her ability to fish in troubled waters, the stall owners at the antique market had come to believe that she bought those items because she was only interested in them.
Seeing her interest in these things at such a young age, some of the stall owners like her a lot and chatted with her when they weren’t busy.
Sometimes a bunch of people would gather around her and brag a bit, showing some tricks of the antique trade to her.
As time went on, Xia Shao really learned a lot.

Apart from the fact that every weekend when she was back in town, Xia Shao would come to the antique market for a stroll.
On Mondays, she would go back to her grandparents’ house in the Ten Miles Village, attend classes at school during the day, go up to the mountain at noon break to practice martial arts, and learn the metaphysical arts from her ShiFu.

After school ended, she would head to Professor Zhou’s house and at night, she would meditate for a while before sleeping.
Most of her summer and winter break was spent with her ShiFu in the mountain for learning and cultivating.

During this period, her standard in metaphysics and geomancy had improved by leaps and bounds.
Her academic performance in school was not much of a concern for her as she always brought back full marks in every exam which put her mother, Li Juan’s mind at ease.

Later on, Xia Shao was admitted to the junior high school of the East City First Middle School with her excellent grades.
Thus, she could only visit the mountain in the Ten Miles Village during the weekend and every summer and winter holiday.

She didn’t stay idle during the week but got up early every morning to exercises and stayed up very late every night to cultivate her Qi for the martial art while her parents were asleep.
Before returning to the Ten Miles Village at weekends, she would always make a detour to the antique market and used her Divine Eye to pick up some authentic pieces.

Xia Shao’s days were spent away in such a busy and disciplined way for all year rounds and a blink of an eye……

In the mansion at the back of the mountain in Ten Miles Village.

Under the lush pomegranate tree, a young girl in a white dress opened up her eyes as she exited from the meditation.
The young girl was about fifteen years old, her face was still slightly chubby, but her skin was so fair and lightly pinkish, just like a haze of colour in the sky.
The ambient around her was like the fragrance of peony, softness like the jade which created a touch of classical beauty on her.

At this moment, a smile swept across her eyes as she glanced at the old man sitting in his wheelchair, trimming the branches for the rose chinensis not far away, and spoke softly: “ShiFu, you old man will encounter a bloody calamity today.”

The old man nearly fell headlong into the flowers and when he reacted, he let out an “ouch!” When he glanced down, he saw a thorn on the stem of rose chinensis was stuck in his fingertip, and as he pulled it out, a bead of blood was squeezed out.

Xia Shao chuckled softly with a glint of slyness in her eyes: “See? Bloody calamity.”

As she spoke, she had gotten up and strolled into the house.

Behind her came a roar from the old man: “You little brat! Always make fun of your ShiFu all day long, do you have any respect for the elderly and the virtuous in your eyes!”

As the scolding fell, Xia Shao had returned with a box of ointment in her hand as she replied with a faint smile: “Here, isn’t this a tribute to the elderly and respectful?”

As soon as Tang ZongBo saw the box of ointment in her hand, he waved his hand around and rejected: “Come on, your ShiFu isn’t like you, little girls.
It’s just a drop of blood from the finger, I don’t need to apply any ointment!”

However, Xia Shao ignored him and squatted down to carefully apply the ointment for the old man then glanced up and informed him: “ShiFu, I will be heading out today as I’m meeting friends for a stroll and I will be leaving soon.
I’ll return in the afternoon and live with you on the mountain during my holidays then.”

Over the years, Xia Shao had always lived in the mountains with her ShiFu during the holidays break.
If it wasn’t for Liu CuiCui, Du Ping, and Pang Dun, who would ask her out sometimes to play, or else she wouldn’t even leave the mountain for the whole break.
After all, when she returned to the city to study, she could only visit her ShiFu on the weekend.

Over the years, although Tang ZongBo was nominally her ShiFu, the old man was like her grandfather in her heart.
In all conscience, her grandfather Xia GuoXi didn’t even show her love as much as Tang ZongBo did.

Also, Xia Shao had gradually learned a few things about Tang ZongBo’s past.
His wife died early and he had no children.
In Tang ZongBo’s eyes, Xia Shao was like his granddaughter.

The reluctance in Xia Shao’s eyes was seen by Tang ZongBo and he couldn’t help and sigh: “Alas! Dumb child! You have followed me for many years, so you should have known long ago that heaven’s way is constant, and life is impermanent.
No banquet in the world never ends.
You and I are master and disciple, we are already linked in fate.”

Despite these words, there was a look of consolation in the old man’s eyes.
The Xuan Sect’s acceptance of disciples was based on character and filial piety, and this child was a rare find in such regard.

“Enough, enough.
Why are you treating it like we are parting for life and death? ShiFu is only sixty-five this year and I still have many years to live! You wanted to go down the mountain, then hurry up, what are you dawdling about?” Tang ZongBo acted out like an impatient old man who was blowing his beard and glared at Xia Shao while trying to shoo her away.

Xia Shao smiled and stood up: “Well, I’ll be leaving then.
We’re going to the town and will be back in the afternoon.”

“To the town? You this little girl, are you going to the antique market again?  Stop buying things back, your ShiFu’s backyard has become your warehouse already!” Tang ZongBo glared at her and bluffed with a hint of laughter in his eyes.

Xia Shao also smiled, over the years, she had collected a hundred or so treasures from the antique market.
Every time she hid them in her school bag, not daring to let her parents know, nor could she leave them at her grandparent’s house, she had to bring them up to the mountain and let ShiFu help her keep them.
ShiFu had a special room in the backyard just for her to keep these antiques.
Now there were five or six shelves full of antiques and they were all authentic!

She kept it in the storage and saved it until today.

This year was the summer of 1997, and Hong Kong had just returned to China.
In a short time, some Hong Kong businessmen would arrive in East City, and the ceramics and antique industries were about to begin their revival.
Within three years, the economic momentum of the East City would begin to soar.

It was about time for her to be rewarded for all the treasures she had found in those years.

In her previous life, her father had been laid off just around the next summer, when she had graduated from junior high school, so she should be able to make it!

Made it in time to change all that!

(T/N: Finally managed to finish translating.
I’ve injured my wirsts so the update for RGC will be delayed and I’ll be focusing on another novel so the next chapter will depend on when I’ve completed translating it.
Sorry for the irregular update.
Thank you all for your kind patience and reading.

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