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Chapter 132 – Dismissed

Refining the Mountains and Rivers
    

    As usual, Leon left an hour early. When he greeted his mother, he did so with a calm expression, not revealing anything at all. With the many arduous years he had lived before, it gave his sunny and youthful teenage smile a bit of strength and toughness too.

    He walked to Sea Spirit Pavilion. As he looked up at the Nine Layer Building, a look of longing flashed in his eyes. With a deep breath, he entered and changed into his clothes. After carefully tidying up his appearance in front of a mirror, he started to sweep and clean the work room.

    Out of Lord Grindstone’s seven assistants, he was the one that most lacked a foundation. Ordinarily, he handled most miscellaneous matters in order to appear as if he were doing work. After the basic cleanup was finished, it was almost work time. His colleagues began to arrive one after another, nodding at him and taking their seats.

    In these past years, they had already become accustomed to Leon’s cleaning, even thinking that it was a habit. In any case, to them, he was just an urchin from a lowly background who lacked any great future, so there was no need to be cautious with him.

    The final one to arrive was a petite young sea race girl. She had several fine patterns that decorated her face, indicating that her true form was that of a deep sea clam. She belonged to the upper level races of the capital city. With her beautiful looks as well as her exuberant aura, she was a beacon of dazzling youthfulness.

    Several colleagues rose up together to chat and joke with her, clearly trying to get closer to her. The girl greeted them and then slapped Leon’s shoulder. “Hey, what are you looking so distracted there for? If Lord Grindstone sees you like this, you won’t be any happier.”

    Leon squeezed out a smile. “I’m fine, it’s about time to start work. Qingqing, you should begin.” As he spoke, he unconsciously looked towards the entrance.

    Qingqing frowned. “Are you waiting for someone?”

    “Mm.” Leon nodded, a bit absent-minded.

    The girl was suddenly worried. The low level sea races always liked to settle marriage early so that their children could breed the next generation.

    Could it be that…this blockhead Leon…

    Before she could think further, Leon suddenly stepped forwards. Qingqing subconsciously screamed, “Don’t go!” Her voice was sharp and grating, shocking everyone in the workroom. They never imagined that the normally gentle and kind girl actually had such a side to her.

    Grindstone coughed in reproval. “It’s about time for work to begin, so what are you all shouting for? Hurry up and begin!”

    As she discovered that Leon was waiting for Lord Grindstone, Qingqing spit out her tongue. She lowered her head and quickly returned to her work table. But as she did so, she pricked her ears up. Just what was that blockhead trying to do? Did he want to flatter Lord Grindstone and prove his loyalty? Haha, she had taught him so many times, but had her lectures had any effect?

    Grindstone turned around. “What are you standing here for?” Although he was still speaking in reproval, the attitude was vastly different than when he was speaking to Qingqing, as if he were already sick of Leon’s presence.

    Leon subconsciously shrunk back. He braced himself and said, “Lord Grindstone, I have something to ask you. Is it possible that…”

    Grindstone frowned. His eyes flashed. He said, “Come in with me.” He pushed open the door. At the same time, the six other assistant sea spirit teachers outside were left surprised. Since when did Leon develop such courage? He actually dared to ask to speak alone? Really, even after a few days, one might have changed for the better.

    Qingqing beamed with joy, thinking that this blockhead had finally begun to bloom. If he could obtain Lord Grindstone’s recognition, and if she were to help him out, then perhaps he could become a middle level sea spirit teacher in around five more years. At that time, he would have the qualifications to discuss marriage with her father. Although there would still be a gap, as long as they insisted and her mother helped them, then her father would surely agree!

    She blushed. Hah, perhaps she was thinking of things too far in advance.

    This dumb blockhead, it had been almost two years yet he didn’t seem to have noticed anything. As she thought of this, she cried in her heart. When it came to matters of the heart, did she really have to move things along all by herself? But as she was lost in thought, a loud roar suddenly awoke her from her trance. She looked up at Lord Grindstone’s workroom.

    The door was violently pushed open. Lord Grindstone’s complexion was dark and dreary. He coldly said, “Do you want me to repeat myself? Leon, you are dismissed! Immediately leave these premises!”

    Leon was left in a stunned haze. He opened his mouth to say something, but chose to turn and leave.

    “What are you looking at? If you keep thinking about unrealistic things all day long, you’ll end up just like him!” Lord Grindstone slammed the door shut. He sat back down in his comfortable chair. The scowl quickly faded from his face. He picked up a sea shell and said, “Connect me to number 177.”

    A connection was soon made. A woman’s light and graceful voice responded on the other end. “Who is this?”

    Lord Grindstone smiled brightly. “Madame Qing, how are you doing? I am Sea Spirit Pavilion’s Grindstone. I have handled the matter we spoke about previously.”

    The woman on the other end chirped up in satisfaction. “I’ve troubled Lord Grindstone. If there is a chance in the future, then please come to my family’s residence to have some tea.”

    “Of course, of course, if there is a chance I will definitely come pay a visit.” After a few more words, he placed the sea shell back on the table. The smile on his face widened.

    Leon was a good assistant; even the picky and discerning Lord Grindstone had to acknowledge this. Leon could even be called his most competent assistant. But, so what if he was? He was nothing but a low level sea spirit teacher with no background, so how could he possibly form relations with Noble Court Avenue’s Qing Family? Sacrificing him wasn’t a pity at all.

    Moreover, it was Leon that had given him the opportunity to dismiss him, otherwise he would have found it hard to look for a reason. Lord Grindstone sighed comfortably. Everything had gone perfectly.

    …

    Leon walked out through the staff hallway. With his grim, pale face and his assistant sea spirit teacher clothing, it was easy to imagine just what had happened to him. In these last several days, there were far too many people who had suffered the same fate as Leon. His colleagues swept their eyes over him, thinking he was another bad luck ghost caught in the friction.

    There was the sound of running footsteps. Then, Qingqing blocked his way. She had an anxious expression as she said, “What did you say to Lord Grindstone? Why would he dismiss you like that!”

    Leon bitterly smiled. “I asked Lord Grindstone if he could advance me half a year of wages ahead of time, but he refused. He said that my thoughts were too fanciful and that I was no longer able to continue working as a competent assistant with my attitude.”

    Qingqing’s eyes widened. “Just because of that? Why would he do that!? Come back with me, we are going to talk to him and make sure that he gives you a good explanation!”

    Leon grabbed her hand. “No, I don’t want to drag you into this.”

    Qingqing vehemently said, “You blockhead, do you really think I’m scared? At the very worst I’ll just look for a new place to work!”

    Leon blushed. “Qingqing…”

    “What is it that you want to say? Leon, you are my friend. If you are in trouble, just tell me; I will do everything in my power to help you.”

    Leon flushed red. He hesitated for a long time and then said in a small voice. “If possible, I would like to borrow some money from you. It’s not a small amount, but I can promise you that I will write you a note and I will slowly repay you in the future.”

    Qingqing gave him a hard look. “I will help you. How much do you need?”

    “Ah!” Leon’s eyes widened a bit in disbelief. She hadn’t even asked him any questions before agreeing to help him.

    He knew that she had a good family background and perhaps money was just a trifling matter to her, but even so, his heart was filled with gratitude.

    As he was about to speak, the gentle voice of a woman rang out, bringing with it a bit of scolding but also a bit of doting. “Qingqing, you need to earnestly work your job, so why are you playing outside here?”

    Qingqing was surprised. “Mother, why are you here?” She didn’t know why, but as she looked at the flustered Leon, her face blushed red.

    The woman wore simple clothes and only had a few simple accessories on. Even so, her calm and steady demeanor exuded the charm of a noble woman. She smiled, “What about it? You work at Sea Spirit Pavilion, so your mother can’t come and take a look?”

    “No, that’s not what I meant!”

    “Alright, alright, you are working right now, so you shouldn’t stay here too long, otherwise others will begin to question why our Qing Family’s daughter has such a poor upbringing. Go back to work; I have already heard everything you said, so I will help finish it for you.” She blinked at her daughter as she spoke, maintaining a kind expression. There was a bit of playfulness in her words.

    Receiving her mother’s hidden message, although Qingqing wasn’t fully at ease, as she thought of the current situation she really couldn’t just stand here awkwardly. She nodded and agreed. Before she left, she reminded Leon to not worry, and that things would definitely be resolved.

    Seeing this, Madame Qing sighed inwardly, thought she didn’t reveal her thoughts on her face. She smiled, “Leon, right? Qingqing has spoken of you. Come, have a meal with aunty.”

    Countless eyes of surprise and envy watched the two leave Sea Spirit Pavilion and mount the luxurious carriage waiting outside. The outside of the carriage appeared opulent and grand, but it was the inside that was truly magnificent. Leon has worked at Sea Spirit Pavilion so he had a certain degree of judgment. He casually looked around and even some of the small things swept away in a corner were so expensive that he would never be able to afford them if he worked his entire life.

    Madame Qing bid him sit down. She poured a cup of tea and casually spoke some small talk. For instance, some noble madam she had eaten a meal with, or some high level banquets she had attended. Her tone was gentle and clear, and as Leon listened he felt as if he were fully immersed in her stories, making him feel even more awkward and out of his depth.

    Because if they didn’t speak about a common topic they both knew about, he had no idea how to contribute to the conversation. He could only sit back and smile.

    Soon, the carriage stopped deep in an alley. There was a common-looking gate, but waiting at the gate was the manager in celebratory robes. As the manager saw Madame Qing, he respectfully bowed and greeted her, welcoming her with all smiles. As he swept his eyes over Leon, his sharp and ruthless eyes immediately judged his level. But, he didn’t show these thoughts and nodded and smiled at him just the same.

    The outside seemed common but it was another world within. There was a vast connected area inside, and each place to eat at was a tall and beautiful mansion.

    After leading them in, the manager apologized and excused himself. There were naturally others who led them into a great hall to drink tea. All sorts of delicate dishes were brought out, each one exuding a delicious aroma, carried in by beautiful maids. Leon unconsciously stared at the maids, curious how they managed to walk quietly in and out.

    Madame Qing smiled. “Please, sit.”

    Leon vowed that never in his life had he eaten such delicious food before. On the large round table, it was just the two of them. Madame Qing didn’t say anything, only quietly smiling at him as he wolfed down food. Even though he tried to hold himself back, he unconsciously ate his fill. He burped and immediately revealed an embarrassed look.

    Madame Qing smiled and laid down her chopsticks. “Have you eaten your fill? There is still some soup coming in.”

    Leon waved his hand. “It’s too much. I can’t drink it.”

    “If you can’t drink it then let’s pack it up so you can bring it back and let your family have a taste. The bill has already been paid, so it’s a waste to not eat it.”

    Leon hesitated for a moment and nodded.

    Madame Qing smiled. She placed a card down on the table. The card was white and flashed with a pale luster. Leon recognized this card. It was an anonymous consumer spirit card. It was guaranteed by the royal family as well as various large financial institutes. One could bring this card in to any valid location and exchange it for 5000 spirit stones.

    “Aunty heard your words with Qingqing. Accept this card. It should be able to resolve your troubles.”

    Leon was excited. “Thank you madame, thank you madame! I will write you a promise note and make sure I repay you as soon as possible!”

    Madame Qing shook her head. “I don’t need any promise note. Leon, I hope that you can calmly listen to what I’m about to say, and wait until I am finished.”