bringing a novel sense of beauty.
This kind of beauty made the terribly ugly colored cord look a lot more pleasing to the eye.

Father Yan came out from the kitchen and saw that the two children each had their own colourful cords.
He scratched his head and asked naturally, “Daughter, where’s mine?”

“……”

At his words, both of them were stunned.

“Why?” Father Yan was stunned too, “Both of you never thought of me?”

The room fell into silence and for a moment, no one spoke.
Father Yan then came to realise that he was left out.

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“Hey daughter, you’re not even married yet! Once you’re married, you might not even return to your natal home2娘家 (niángjia) – home of a married woman’s parents,” Father Yan simpered and said.

Because of her poor health, Yan Mu had no playmates since she was young.
Now that she had a better relationship with Yu Yuan, Father Yan was actually quite happy inside, so he didn’t take this small matter to heart.

On the contrary, hearing the word ‘marry’, Yu Yuan’s eyes flickered.
He looked down and caressed the colourful cord on his wrist, lost in thought.

**************

The Dragon Boat Festival holiday soon ended and Yan Mu sat back in the classroom, feeling like it was a dream. 

“This must be the so-called post-holiday blues.” Yan Mu sighed.
As soon as Yu Yuan arrived at the private school, he went to find Teacher to ask questions while she stayed quite bored in the classroom.

While Teacher still hadn’t arrived yet, Yan Mu simply plopped herself on the table and slept.
She closed her eyes, yet the chatter around her couldn’t help but reach her ears.

“Have you all heard?” The person who was talking was Zhou Er3二 (èr) – two/second Pang4胖 (pàng) – fat/stout/plump.
He mysteriously lowered his voice and soon attracted the attention of the other students.

“What is it? What is it?” Another student joined into the conversation in excitement.

“I heard that Zhang Goudan’s father recently smoked himself into a stupor with a new kind of cigarette5醉生梦死 (zuìshēng-mèngsǐ) – as if drunk or entranced (idiom); in a drunken stupor, and he can’t even go hunting anymore!” Zhou Er Pang gossiped and said, “Zhang Family is so poor now6揭不开锅 (jiēbukāi//guō) – have nothing in the pot/very poor/go hungry that they can’t afford to buy food.”

Zhang Goudan’s father? Wasn’t that Hunter Zhang?

As soon as Yan Mu heard that Hunter Zhang family’s situation was bad, she suddenly felt energetic.
She stopped sleeping and pricked up her ears to listen to the gossip.

Seeing that Yan Mu, who usually ignored people, was also looking at him, Zhou Er Pang suddenly felt even prouder in his heart.
He acted coy and stalled for some time before saying, “Didn’t Hunter Zhang have a very strong smoking addiction? He couldn’t afford tobacco leaves, so he smoked pumpkin leaves.
Later, he heard others say that adding something to the smoking pipe can make people drunk.
He was addicted as soon as he smoked it and he’s really done for now.”

“If that thing is really good to smoke, it must be hard to find, right? How did Hunter Zhang find it?” A student asked in confusion.

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“This is really a coincidence,” Zhou Er Pang joyfully said.
“It just so happens that there’s a few trees growing behind his house that no one noticed.
That day, this thing happened to bloom and it was said to be very beautiful, so it was quickly discovered by Hunter Zhang.”

“That’s such a coincidence……”

“Right, we usually pass by the back of Hunter Zhang’s house, why didn’t we find it?”

For a while, there were all sorts of speculations7议论纷纷 (yìlùn-fēnfēn) – to discuss spiritedly (idiom); widespread comment/wagging tongues going around the classroom.

Highly addictive with a very pretty flower? Could it be…… 

Yan Mu carefully pondered and asked, “Is the flower red in colour?”

Zhou Er Pang was also stunned, and was about to question how Yan Mu knew.
But after all, he had the mentality of a teenager, plus Yan Mu was always with Yu Yuan, so he suddenly felt like it would be a little humiliating to say so.

Seeing the colourful cord on Yan Mu’s wrist was somewhat novel, so he casually said, “If you give me that cord, I’ll tell you.”

Yan Mu’s neck shrunk back and she angrily said, “In your dreams!”

Her small face was puffed with anger, looking like a little goldfish.
Her cute look stunned Zhou Er Pang. 

Yan Mu seemed to look better and better.
Zhou Er Pang only came to realise it now.

Suddenly, he was a little regretful for offending Yan Mu and treating her lightly.
Zhou Er Pang softly coughed and quietly moved to her side.
Just as he was about to talk, he suddenly heard a gloomy voice ring out behind him.

“What are you doing?” The teenager’s voice was hoarse and filled with an imperceptible hint of hatred.

Yan Mu’s eyes lit up and she waved happily towards the back of Zhou Er Pang, then said, “Yu Yuan, you’re here!”

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