(yeah. it's an older word.)
"Thank you so much!" Fang Li bowed and rushed out of the house. She unbridled her horse, who turned to her with a look of protest. True, the brown gelding didn't have much time to rest, but because of what he was, he was calm and behaved about it. Of course, she could ride a normal stallion, but she preferred to have quiet rides and a trip without drama and much action.
The horse grunted as Fang Li hauled herself up, but followed her as she spurred it on. She turned back to wave at Miss Mei and purchased a siopao from one of the vendors, not bothering to come down. The vendor, a short, stauchy old lady had to go up on her tip toes to give the steamed bun to her. She apologized as she handed her payment before leting the horse canter for a while before kicking the horse into a gallop sending clouds of dust into the air out of the range of the siopao shop.
The bun was so warm and comforting in her hand, freshly cooked and wafting with mouthwatering flavors. She bit into it and burned tongue, but didn't spit it out. Instead, she opened her mouth to the strong gusts of air that blew in her face as her horse ran. After that first bite, she gobbled up the rest like it wasn't hot at all.
Soon, the village opened up to her and she stopped seeing some of her friends chattering. She got off her horse and told them the news.
"So we won't be seeing a lot of you now," Shuang frowned. She was newly married to one of the cartmakers who chose her because of her eternally red lips. In his words they were perfect for kissing, and it seemed that she didn't disappoint. Shuang was the most beautiful among them with her black, shiny hair flowing down to her waist and her face similar to a porcelain doll with her long lashes and light skin.
Shuang was everything Fang Li was not--graceful, dainty, beautiful and perfect in the kitchen. Beside her, Fang Li was a kid darkened under the sun and who let her tongue get away with everything short of slander. Her friends told her she was cute, but cute never won men. Being a woman did. She had been insecure about it when she was with her friends, but now that she had a purpose, she didn't mind it at all.
"So, you're here to tell your parents?" Lei Ba asked, her luxurious hair done up and her face painted in beautiful colors as her husband wanted, and her job as a theater actress required. That was where they met and got together even before their parents arranged for their marriage. Lei Ba's nails were lacquered pink, so she was likely playing a damsel and not some powerful woman.
Fang Li nodded. "Don't worry, I'll still get to see you."
"Might as well walk you home," Shuang shrugged and stood from her perch under the shade of the trees, followed by Lei Ba. Together, they walked on, catching up and telling stories as the old friends they were. Soon they were giggling like little girls without responsibilities of marriage and medicine.