Three days after obtaining news from Alchemist Zhang, Qin Yu gained another friend in the mansion. Her name was July, and she was a young lady. Her family had experienced a bitter misfortune so she was temporarily living with the Ning Family. The reason Qin Yu was acquainted with her was that her maid had become sick and she came to his dwelling to ask for medicine.
When her maid’s illness was brought under control, one could see how grateful July was. She soon became close to Qin Yu. She was a beautiful young girl, with a soft and delicate temperament; it was easy for others to have a favorable impression of her. The two of them hadn’t known each other for long, but they already felt like good friends who had known each other for many years.
“This is chicken soup I personally cooked. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any extra materials or the flavor would be even better. Alas, I can only use the fragrance of the chicken soup itself.” July smiled as she spoke, her manner warm and friendly.
Qin Yu smiled. “It tastes good.”
July stood up. “I know you are busy. Alchemist Zhang is really something. It's fine enough if he wants to go all-out, but why drag you along? I can’t even talk a bit more if I wanted to.”
Perhaps because she was thinking that the meaning behind her words was a bit too straightforward, a blush began to creep up her fair cheeks. She waved her hands in a hurry and left.
Qin Yu finished drinking the chicken soup and laid down the bowl. He thought about it and revealed a helpless smile.
July was too passionate.
Although it could be said that he saved her maid and that was the reason why she was close to him, there was still something wrong with the situation.
He shouldn’t lie to himself.
If he thought that his seductive charm was too great, that would be a flat out lie. He might as well wash himself of such thoughts.
When the maid came in, Qin Yu regained his composure. He sat up and said, “Wait a moment and then clean everything up. Make sure to send Miss July back.”
Qin Yu walked to the alchemy workshop. He greeted several people that were already there and immediately started working.
Methodical, calm, reasonable, no different than before.
Time slowly passed. From the time he first met July, around a month had passed. Her attitude towards him had become even warmer and more intimate. Of course, there was a reason for all this. On some day when Qin Yu returned to his dwelling, he saw July being harassed by a mansion steward. With his status as a second-grade alchemist, he spoke some words and made the steward retreat in resentment.
He could feel the emotion and affection in July’s eyes. He smiled inwardly. The fire was almost ready.
Two days later, there was an incident of theft in the Ning Mansion; it seemed that something extremely precious had been lost. The mansion declared martial law and searched unendingly. In his dwelling, Qin Yu could also hear some rumors. It was said that what the Ning Mansion lost was an extremely precious treasure that was highly beneficial to one’s cultivation.
At night, in the deep darkness, Qin Yu’s courtyard welcomed a visitor. It was July.
“Qin Ning, help me!” After just a few words, her watery eyes shined with tears. With her frightened and windswept appearance, it was enough to arouse the sympathy and pity of others.
Qin Yu allowed her in. “What happened?”
July bit her lips. “I was the one who stole something.” Her face flushed red and sorrow colored it. “This is originally something that belonged to my family. When I was brought to the Ning Mansion in the past, they forcefully took it away from me. I just wanted to take back what was mine!”
Qin Yu frowned. “July, the mansion won’t care for your explanation.”
“I know! That’s why I have to leave!” July’s eyes brightened. “Qin Ning, are you willing to bring me away? You should know my feelings towards you. If you bring me away from here, I will turn over my family treasure to you.”
After shyly speaking out her feelings, her face was hot red.
Qin Yu couldn’t help but acknowledge that July was very charming. At this time, as she looked at him like he was the king of her heart, it would be hard for anyone to withstand.
But he already knew.
He shook his head. “July, I’m sorry, but I cannot agree.”
July’s complexion instantly paled and her eyes filled with disbelief. She seemed so sad that it shook one’s heart. She wanted to say something else, but Qin Yu suddenly stepped forwards and struck the back of her neck. She fainted where she stood, all of her words kept in her belly.
Qin Yu opened the door and awakened the maid. He told her to tell the mansion that the thief had been around.
The mansion moved quickly. Not long afterwards when July woke up, she was already locked in jail.
When she first opened her eyes, she was a bit confused. She frowned and revealed a thoughtful expression.
“July, I never imagined that you would be knocked unconscious. This is really…” Ning Yiran wavered, not sure how to describe it, so he simply left it as is.
July lightly said, “There is no need for young master to feel awkward. I know the rules. Since I was exposed, I will leave the mansion…” Her voice hardened a bit. “But I can’t accept it.”
Ning Yiran frowned. “What do you mean?”
“I want to try one more time. I ask young master to help me.”
Ning Yiran fell silent for a moment then nodded.
Thus, Qin Yu received news that the imprisoned July had made a request to see him. After thinking about it, Qin Yu didn’t refuse. He arrived at the mansion’s dungeon.
July was backed up against the stone wall. Her thin body was huddled up, like a small injured beast. “Qin Ning, your heart is like stone…”
Her quiet voice was able to shake one’s resolve.
Qin Yu cupped his hands together. “I wronged you in this matter. But, since I joined the mansion, I am one of the mansion’s people. It is impossible for me to harm the mansion’s interests.”
July bitterly smiled. “But do you know what treasure is in my hands? With it, you wouldn’t need to toil away in this mansion any longer. I know you are a prideful man with lofty aspirations. This is your greatest opportunity, but you gave it up…as well as giving up me. Qin Ning, could it be that you really don’t have even the slightest shred of emotion towards me?”
Qin Yu sighed. “There are certain things a gentleman can do and cannot do. I know that what you say is fact, but I cannot do it, so I can only express my regrets.”
At this point, the jail cell fell silent.
July lowered her head. It was unknown what she was thinking, but at some time she clucked her tongue and chuckled. She walked forth from the corner of the cell and straightened herself. “When did you realize it?”
Qin Yu frowned. “July, what do you mean?”
“Humph. No one else is here, so why try to hide it? I’ve already used every trick I know and spent an entire month with you. If you weren’t vigilant against me to begin with, how could you be so cruel to me?” July’s delicate and charming personality had disappeared and was now replaced with an arrogant and haughty one. “I lost to you this time, so I have nothing to say. But for better or worse, you should at least tell me where I slipped up in these past days. Consider it as repayment for all the good food I brought you.”
Qin Yu paled and his breathing quickened. He was like someone who had just woken up and realized he had been made the butt of a joke. “July! I never thought that you were someone sent by the mansion to investigate me! To think that I felt guilty over what I did to you. Consider this as me being blind to the intentions of others!”
He flicked his sleeves and left.
In the jail cell, July was stunned. She stared blankly on as he left.
After a long time, she sighed.
Regardless of whether Qin Ning had known earlier or whether he didn’t know anything at all, she was fully convinced of her loss.
Facts spoke louder than words!
Ning Yiran appeared from some unknown place. “July, do you have anything else to say?”
July shook her head. “I ask master to dismiss me from the mansion.”
Ning Yiran shook his head. “Right now, I will give you another choice. Consider it, and then give me an answer.”
Qin Yu left the dungeon. With a gloomy expression, he stormed back to his courtyard, closed the doors, poured himself a cup of tea, and then maliciously slammed the teacup into the ground.
In the dark night, the shattering of the teacup was especially noticeable.
The attentively listening maid shrunk back her neck and crept away silently.
Qin Yu revealed a hint of a smile. With things having come this far, it should be enough.
The Ning Family was quite cautious.
But Qin Yu knew that if the Ning Family was able to maintain its current status to this day, they must be far more cautious than he imagined.
“Father, the test result proves that there is no problem with Qin Ning. He can even be called outstanding.” Ning Yiran subconsciously furrowed his eyebrows. “But for some reason, I still think something is wrong.”
Ning Mingxuan’s eyes flashed. “Why is that?”
“I don’t know. Perhaps it is because July lost.” Ning Yiran thought back to how Qin Ning had actually knocked July senseless, and he couldn’t help but feel something.
Perhaps it was because of this that he was a bit restless.
Ning Mingxuan fell silent. He slowly said, “The name list is put forth by the main family; our only responsibility is to test those on it. Since there is no problem with Ning Qin, there is no reason to cut him out.”
Ning Yiran was worried. “But what if…”
“Qin Ning only has a Foundation Establishment cultivation. Even if he has other thoughts, what can he do if he enters the main family?” Ning Mingxuan paused and then said, “But before entering the main family, send out some rumors and see how he deals with them.”
Ning Yiran cupped his hands together. “Your son understands.”
The next day, someone in the Ning Mansion said that for his own future, the new alchemist recruit Qin Ning had handed over Miss July. He did this to obtain the trust of the Mansion Lord and to be given more responsibilities.
Although it was the right thing to do for him to help the mansion catch the thief, in the end that young miss had liked him and trusted him, yet he had betrayed her. This didn’t feel right for many people.
So, Qin Yu soon discovered that the eyes of some people looking at him started to fill with disdain and contempt.
Within the alchemy workroom, the several people that had good relations with him also became a bit distant.
For his future, he was even able to sacrifice the woman he liked. With such a cold and callous personality, who would want to be friends with him?
Qin Yu maintained his calm. He signed inwardly. July was someone arranged by the mansion, and now with rumors rising up from all over, it was clear things weren’t so simple.
Indeed, there were far too many intelligent people in this world, and they weren’t easy to deceive either.
But looking at the current situation, the Ning Mansion should be a bit cautious towards him. However, they had no proof.
They freely spread some rumors because they wanted to watch his reaction and make another judgment based on that.
Qin Yu thought for a moment and decided to create a bit of a stir. He was a young man, right? If he was wronged and didn’t say anything, that would be abnormal behavior.
In the next two days, in order to stop these rumors, he had two small conflicts with people. It was unknown how Alchemist Zhang found out, but Qin Yu was called before him. “Be more careful. Don’t try to provoke any trouble. These next few days might be able to change your life.”
Qin Yu expressed his gratitude and then left, smiling.
Five days later, the Ning Family steward brought Qin Yu away. Then he saw the master of the mansion.
Ning Mingxuan said, “Qin Ning, my Ning Family has a secret place that can help cultivators cultivate. You are one of those chosen to go. You will be leaving tomorrow, so prepare to leave.”
Qin Yu was overjoyed.
Watching him leave, Ning Mingxuan turned around, “It looks like there aren’t any problems.”
Ning Yiran nodded.
He had been paying attention to Qin Yu’s behavior these past few days. There had been no flaws.
Perhaps he had been overthinking it.