Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
At the end of August, the sun hung overhead and a heatwave boiled on the little town.
On the second floor of the town center's health institute, a girl leaned against a slightly shabby door lazily. She wore a simple black-and-white shirt and her collar crooked when she lowered her head.
Her two sleeves were folded up in an unruly manner.
She wore a pair of low-rise jeans below. It was a little old and exposed her thin and delicate waist due to her movements.
Her appearance was simply eye-catching.
When the nurse saw a man pass by the girl for the third time, she handed the girl a lollipop and snorted towards the ward. "Ran Ran, are your parents here?"
Qin Ran lowered her head to tear into the sugar coating. Her long eyelashes drooped slightly and she only squinted her eyes in reply when it was in her mouth. "Probably."
The nurse snorted. "I couldn't tell."
She then hurried away with the medical record.
Inside the ward were Qin Ran's biological parents, Ning Qing and Qin Hanqiu.
The two had already divorced more than a decade ago. Qin Ran had always followed her grandmother, who had fallen ill and had to transfer hospitals. Thus, Ning Qing and Qin Hanqiu had returned.
Qin Ran leaned against the wall, one leg curled slightly as she listened expressionlessly.
Through the door, Ning Qing's indifferent voice could be heard. "Qin Hanqiu, my mother is in serious condition. I will take her to Yun Cheng for treatment."
Qin Hanqiu looked at her with a complicated expression, seemingly mocking her. "Ran Ran dropped out of school and no school in Ninghai Town has accepted her. You can take her to the Lin family. They have connections and will definitely find a good school for her."
"I've already brought Yu'er into the Lin family, yet you want me to bring another child in? What will the Lin family think of me?" Ning Qing was a little annoyed with his endless pestering. Which school would easily accept a student like Qin Ran?
Speaking of this, Qin Hanqiu was clearly resentful. "I wanted to take Yu'er with me back then. You're pushing Ran Ran to me just because you don't want her?"
They had two daughters. Qin Ran and Qin Yu were only one year apart, but they were worlds apart in other areas.
They had fought relentlessly for Qin Yu's custody when they filed for divorce. In the end, Qin Yu wanted to follow her mother and the case was finally closed.
At that time, no one wanted Qin Ran. The two evaded her custody and didn't care about her in the end.
Grandmother Chen Shulan had taken pity on Qin Ran. Thus, she raised her alone for twelve years.
In the ward, Ning Qing looked at the mocking face of Qin Hanqiu and suppressed her anger. Compared to Qin Yu, who wanted to take in a daughter who only fought? Furthermore, she would have to take her into a prestigious family, and Ning Qing was reluctant at having to be mocked at.
Qin Hanqiu had been abducted into their town when he was a kid. Chen Shulan fancied Qin Hanqiu as a poor boy. But after being married for a few years, Ning Qing couldn't stand Qin Hanqiu's lack of ambitions. Besides hard labor, he could only work on construction sites. Ning Qing might as well divorce him.
After their divorce, Ning Qing brought Qin Yu along in her marriage to a rich man in Yun Cheng.
Qin Hanqiu also quickly remarried. He had a son with his current wife and led a prosperous life.
Qin Hanqiu had nothing to lose, while Ning Qing was afraid that he would really go to the Lin family's house and embarrass her, so she unwillingly took Qin Ran back to Yun Cheng.
"Ran Ran, you." Qin Hanqiu came out of the ward door, saw Qin Ran, and paused. He sighed. "The Lin family is rich. Follow your mother and they will definitely find you a good high school for you. You might even enter university in the future."
With Qin Ran's grades, could she even enter university… Qin Hanqiu only said it casually.
Qin Hanqiu had a son now and it was not a small responsibility. They had yet to buy a house in the city and still had to plan for the future.
His current wife had ordered him beforehand not to take Qin Ran back.
Qin Ran leaned back further. There was no air-conditioning in the corridor of the hospital and the sultry air was condensed. She lowered her head and wrapped her fingers around the second white jade button on her collar.
Her fingers were slender and free of impurities, like a frozen jade wrapped in the cold.
Her incredibly pretty eyebrows were cold and dry.
She ignored Qin Hanqiu and, after unbuttoning the button, narrowed her eyes and looked towards the window facing her in the hallway, her eyes cold.
A few meters away from the window was an office.
Opposite the office.
The young man sitting on the chair was dressed in a white coat of asceticism. His face was clean and his figure handsome and slender.
He was the new director of the hospital, Jiang Dongye.
Jiang Dongye glanced at the high-end sofa across him that did not match the hospital.
A man was lying on the sofa with a cigarette pinched between his long and defined fingers. Pale smoke rose thinly from his folded arms and his eyes seemed to be frozen in place for half a minute.
Jiang Dongye followed his line of sight. "What are you staring at?"
The man was wearing a black silk shirt and was nestled on the sofa. He leaned into the sofa and smiled. "Quite a thin waist."
He turned his head to the side. His nose was very high and his skin extremely white. His eyes were half squinted, and his very long eyelashes covered the bottom of his eyes.
As if he had just woken, his voice was hoarse and low, with a hint of inadvertent clarity.
His voice was clear.
"Huh?" Jiang Dongye flipped through the pages of his medical record and didn't understand him.
He looked up at his outstandingly charming appearance and thought it wasn't difficult to understand why all the men and women in this city were crazy for this Third Master.
"None of your business." Cheng Juan straightened his long legs, leaned on the sofa and chuckled. Then, he said, "Return to Beijing once you have finished your mission in two days."
"What about you?" Jiang Dongye returned to his senses.
His bony fingers pressed the cigarette into the ashtray.
Cheng Juan stood up, his legs long and straight, his eyes narrowed with mist. He reached out and patted the imaginary ashes and said dismissively, "I have another mission."
The Ning family's car was just downstairs.
It was a black BMW with Yun Cheng's license plate number.
After negotiating with the doctor, Ning Qing directly took Qin Ran and Chen Shulan back to Yun Cheng.
"The Lin family has a lot of rules. Don't bring your bad habits to the Lin family, do you hear me?" Ning Qing tilted her head and rubbed her brows.
Qin Ran only carried a black backpack which she put on her lap. She squinted a little sleepily and nodded indifferently.
She had a pair of thin and straight legs.
She carried the air of a bandit from head to toe and Ning Qing wasn't sure if she even processed her words.
"Why are you so sleepy? Did you steal something last night?" Ning Qing had been a noblewoman for twelve years in the Lin family and was now extremely graceful.
What she hated most was the air of banditry that Qin Ran had in common with Qin Hanqiu.
Qin Ran took out a pair of black headphones from her pocket and didn't care much. "I spent the night playing games at an internet cafe."
As she looked up, the half-slung headphones slid to her collar and hung on her neck.
"You… you're not allowed to go to internet cafes in the future!" Ning Qing looked at her improper appearance and gritted her teeth. "Don't be so rebellious. If you were half as good as Yu'er, I wouldn't be nagging you so much. The Lin family is different from your grandmother. Your words and deeds will affect your younger sister. Even if you don't care about yourself, don't drag Yu'er down."
At the thought of having to find connections and have Lin Qi put Qin Ran into the senior year, Ning Qing became more and more irritable.
With Qin Ran's current situation, she was afraid that even if they searched the whole of Yun Cheng, no school would be willing to accept her.
She had depended on her good looks to marry Lin Qi, a real estate businessman who lost his wife.
Qin Yu had been extremely clever since young and even looked pleasantly good.
She had excellent grades and outstanding talents. She never let the Lin family worry about her studies.
No matter where she was, she was used as a role model.
The Lin family were extremely satisfied with Qin Yu.
Ning Qing was naturally happy to bring Qin Yu into the Lin family.
But at the thought of bringing Qin Ran to the Lin family next.
Ning Qing didn't even have an appetite for lunch.
At 4 PM, the black BMW stopped in front of the Lin family's villa in Yun Cheng.
"Madam." A middle-aged woman in a blue shirt opened the door. She was surprised when she saw Chen Shulan and Qin Ran behind Ning Qing.
Ning Qing felt a little stuffy and was visibly upset. "Aunt Zhang, bring my mother and Ran Ran in first. Yu'er will end her class soon, I'll pick her up."
Qin Yu had always been picked up by the Lin family's driver.
Today Ning Qing went personally to pick her up because she was frustrated and didn't want to face Qin Ran at home. Thus, she went out to take a breath.
Aunt Zhang watched as Ning Qing left. Then, she turned to look at the two with suspicion in her eyes.
"Old lady, Ms. Qin." She glanced them up and down with extremely cryptic eyes before she said, "Come in."
Then, she turned her head first and led the way. She pursed her lips at an angle where the two couldn't see.
Chen Shulan walked along and saw exquisitely decorated European-style buildings.
Her fingers clung to the corners of her clothes unconsciously.
They stopped at the hall and Aunt Zhang was about to take out the slippers.
But Chen Shulan walked in with her shoes.
After Chen Shulan stepped in, she saw Aunt Zhang staring at her in surprise.
Although she was from the countryside, she always loved cleanliness and didn't have much dust on her heels and clothes.
Aunt Zhang's stare was burdensome, but her granddaughter was beside her, so Chen Shulan tried her best to ignore Aunt Zhang's stare and straightened her back.
She took a step back and wanted to change her shoes, but Aunt Zhang shoved the slippers back inside.
There were a lot of guest rooms in the Lin family's house. Aunt Zhang couldn't tell Ning Qing's current attitude and took the two of them to a room on the third floor.
At the corner of the second floor, there was a half-opened door with a precious violin in the room.
Qin Ran gave it a second glance.
Aunt Zhang glanced at Qin Ran and said blankly, "This is the Second Lady's violin room."
Qin Ran raised her eyebrows and followed behind Aunt Zhang lazily. She thought casually that Qin Yu was very favored in the Lin family.
The guest rooms upstairs were slightly dull.
"This is the bathroom. You know how to use the water heater, right?" Aunt Zhang opened the door of the bathroom and introduced it as if the two were cavemen.
Qin Ran sat on the low table with one leg slightly bent. She fiddled with the flowers placed on the table with one hand, her sleeves rolled up.
Revealing her bare white wrists.
"Rest first. If you need anything, just call me. I'll head downstairs first." Aunt Zhang said a few more notes before heading down to the kitchen to help.
After she left, Qin Ran locked the door.
Chen Shulan looked at the beautiful spotless room and thought for a long time before smiling. "This Aunt Zhang looks pretty… easy to get along with. Next time… you and your mother, sigh."
Qin Ran dumped the contents of her backpack on the table.
She raised her eyebrows but did not speak.
Chen Shulan watched as Qin Ran played with her stuff and didn't disturb her. This granddaughter really had a lot of weird things.
Last time, she had seen a chilling gun on the table and Chen Shulan had been really scared, but Qin Ran later told her that it was just a toy gun.
Qin Ran sat on the table with her legs bent and fiddled with the contents of her backpack. She placed a laptop without a logo which looked quite new and didn't have a brand on the table carelessly.
Then, she took out a very heavy mobile phone.
She continued to throw it onto the table.
She had always been messy and had to pick out a white plastic bottle from the pile of items.
When it was picked up, it also made a shaking sound from the water inside.
A messy Q was drawn with a black pen outside and a note was attached.
Qin Ran tore off the sticky note and wrote a string of characters on it. She looked at it for a while and then tossed it aside.
She only held the white plastic bottle in her hand. She tilted her head and looked at Chen Shulan, then tossed the bottle into the pile.
After a while, Aunt Zhang came up and knocked on the door—
"Sir is back with Young Master. They're both downstairs and want to see you both."
Downstairs, Lin Qi was whispering to Lin Jinxuan.
After all, she had to bring a daughter back again and Ning Qing didn't have the guts to make the decision. Thus, she had called Lin Qi when she was in the hospital.
"I heard that she left school for a year after making a serious mistake and is a big troublemaker. It's a bit unbearable for her to be brought in." Lin Qi thought about Ning Qing's request and frowned in worry.
She had thought that since Qin Yu was so obedient, her sister couldn't be any worse, so he hadn't asked much.
But trouble was under his nose. The Lin family never had such a troublemaker before.
Lin Jinxuan frowned, put one hand on the sofa, tilted his head and pressed his phone as if he was talking to someone.
He didn't even lift his head when Lin Qi was talking and was evidently very uninterested.
But when he heard movement on the stairs, he raised his eyes inadvertently and glanced there.
He was stunned.
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