Chapter 17 – Friends

When Xia Shao arrived at the entrance of the village, Liu CuiCui, Du Ping, and Pang Dun were already waiting for her.

Liu CuiCui was already 17 years old this year, but her height had grown to 175cm with a pair of slender beautiful legs.
Although she wasn’t too pretty, she was always very spirited and bright.
Being around her, made one feel refreshed and in a good mood.

Du Ping was also 17, he was tanned and tall as ever.
His eyes still shone brightly as they were when he was a child, but his body was even leaner than before with all those fighting he had been through.

Pang Dun was still chubby as always but he was much sturdier than he was as a child and looks so honest and cute.

When the three of them saw Xia Shao heading over, they waved at her from afar.

“Damn girl, you’re here at last! What treasure did Master Tang have there to keep you away for so long? All you know is to stay in the mountains all day.”Liu CuiCui nagged with laughter.

Xia Shao only smiled faintly, Liu CuiCui and the others were aware of her frequent trips to the mountains.
At first, they were so curious and begged her to take them up to the mountains to have a look.
After she had obtained permission from her ShiFu, she took them over for a visit a few times.

How could they see the mystery of the mansion on the mountain? They went there a few times and saw nothing special about it.
Also, they had to go back to the East City for study and usually they had to live in the school hostel so they never visit the mountain again.

Liu CuiCui pulled Xia Shao closer to her and checked her out: “This white dress really suits you! After all, you’re a girl from the city and looks great in any of such white dress! It’s a little strange, you used to go to school in the village like us, how come you don’t get tanned? Look at your skin, it’s so white and flushed, so fair and smooth.
Unlike me, I’m only tall but my skin is too dark to look at.”

“Sister CuiCui, that’s what you call tanned skin, a healthy color.” Xia Shao smiled lightly, she had gained some achievement over the years by practising the method of nourishing Qi, and had broken through the stage of refining essence and transforming Qi.
Outsiders only seemed to think that her skin was great and smooth due to her good blood circulation, but in fact, the inner benefits of her body went far beyond that.

She smiled subtlety, the wind picked up the corner of her white dress, and there was an indescribable charm in her softness and calmness that made Du Ping dumbstruck.

He remembered that after Xia Shao had saved Pang Dun at school, he was not convinced and often challenged her.
Yet strangely enough, she always managed to fool him or divert away from his attention to elsewhere.
Long afterward, he would then only realise that he had been tricked after she had left.

He went from being angry at first to being discouraged, always wondering why he was no match for a little girl.
However, he gradually understood that she was no longer the timid crybaby that he often bullied into tears and hid behind Liu CuiCui and didn’t dare to face him.

She was actually intelligent, cunning, and even had a breezy aura that transcended her age.
This aura always struck him strangely, and for some reason, he always had the illusion that he was younger than her……

“Hey! What are you staring at!” Liu CuiCui slapped Du Ping on the shoulder and when she saw him staring at Xia Shao, she couldn’t help but laughed and teased: “Oh~ don’t tell us that you’ve fallen for our dear ShaoZi, is it? I warn you first! ShaoZi is only fifteen, put away your flirting heart that is about to leap out!”

“Pffft!” Pang Dun erupted with laughter at the side as he watched the scene.

Xia Shao almost choked and glanced over at Du Ping, when she saw that flushed face, she was slightly astonished.

Du Ping hurriedly yelled: “I, I was thinking that ShaoZi and Pang Dun will take the midterm exams next year, and when they get into East City First Highschool, we will be in our senior year.
We can still take care of them for at least another year.
You… what nonsense are you spurting about!”

Liu CuiCui and Du Ping both did well in their exams, and although it was a bit of a close call, they still got into the number one Highschool in East City.
They were two years older than Xia Shao and Pang Dun, who was now studying in the same class at the middle school affiliate of the East City number one Highschool.
Moreover, they would be in their third year after this summer holidays while Liu CuiCui and Du Ping were in their second year of Highschool.

Seeing Du Ping’s anxious look, Liu CuiCui obviously didn’t believe him and stared at him suspiciously while raising her eyebrows and confirming again: “Really?”

“Of course it’s true! The bus is here, hurry up and let’s get on.” Seeing a bus driving over not far away, Du Ping waved at it.
Xia Shao watched Du Ping’s back view and just smiled lightly.
Seventeen was the age when love was in its infancy, she had come from that age and could understand Du Ping’s thoughts at just a glance.
However, how did this Du ping have his heart set on her? Auntie Xia Shao was very puzzled.

The bus stopped at the side of the highway and Liu CuiCui pulled Xia Shao into the bus.
Seeing that Pang Dun was still walking over, she rushed: “Pang Du, hurry up.”

When they got onto the bus, Xia Shao and Liu CuiCui sat together while Du Ping and Pang Dun sat together.
The four of them occupied two rows of seats in the same line.
As soon as Pang Dun sat down, he started complaining: “Sister CuiCui, don’t keep calling me Pang Dun, I have a name, Zhou MingXu! At least I go to the affiliation middle school of East City First Highschool, so if you kept calling me Pang Dun, my classmates will laugh at me if they overheard it.”

“Yo, you’re caring about your reputation now?” Liu CuiCui turned around, smiling and staring surprisingly at Pang Dun before pinching his cheek, causing him to grumble again.

Xia Shao chuckled softly, listening to the bickering of her friends, she couldn’t help but the corner of her lips raised slightly as she stared into the moving scenery through the bus window.

In her previous life, Liu CuiCui failed her college entrance exams and her family didn’t let her repeat her studies to pay for her brother’s education.
After which, she found a job as a shop assistant in a shopping mall and got married at a very young age.

Although Du Ping got into university, the school was not ideal, so he gave up studying and joined the army instead.
When he returned from demobilisation, his family got him a job in a ceramic company in the city.

Meanwhile Pang Dun, on the other hand, was affected by his family because of what happened to Professor Zhou.
He was not well and was always ill, so he dropped out of school to recuperate at home and went to work in the city when he had gotten better.

Whether these childhood friends would follow the same fate in this life, Xia Shao had no idea.
As for Pang Dun’s fate, it was already changed when she alternated Professor Zhou’s fate.
At least in her previous life, she didn’t remember that Pang Dun had gone to the city’s First Highschool and was in the same class with her.

Xia Shao leaned back in her seat and smiled faintly, weren’t these all nice? Life could restart again, and she hoped that her friends could live better than they had in their previous life too.

It was only a ten-mile journey from the village to the city, so it was a convenient ten-minute bus ride.
When they arrived in town, the four of them changed buses and headed to the antique market.

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