A young sales manager, due to an accidental experience, arrives at a completely different world. In the Xiao family’s mansion, he becomes a glorious . . . retainer!
Late comes the dawn of spring,
The myriad flowers foresee its arrival.
Planting peach trees year after year,
They bloom at heartbreak.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Poem of the Peach Tree — Third Bro
Chapter 1 – Sir, Sir (1)
The amiable autumn wind; the elegant trees’ shadows. The vast Profound Martial Lake was akin to an enormous and sleek mirror. Beneath the rays of the setting sun, it dazzled with golden brilliance.
Scales glimmered atop the broad lake surface as a ship darted through. On it came laughters; who knew which family’s ladies were out travelling. It appeared quite lively there.
Countless scholars stood at the front of the ship as they looked at the other ship with the wealthy ladies, revealing wolf-like, desiring eyes. When they neared the ship, their faces completely changed. They put on a clean and refined appearance, eyes straight forward, fanning themselves lightly, reciting poems, writing essays . . . They had a rather graceful display.
On the lake, behind the curtains of several officials’ ships, there were ladies who furtively examined the graceful geniuses coming to and fro, choosing the people they liked.
Standing on the side by the Profound Martial Lake, if one had to find an adjective to describe Lin Wanrong’s current emotions, that would be bad luck. Truly, some damn bad luck.
He’s been here for a month, but bad luck had never left him. Starting in the moment he chose to participate in the company’s touring group to Mount Tai, perhaps bad luck had always been with him. When he, in the tour’s list of names, saw that little girl’s name, he had a particularly uneasy feeling.
Reality proved his speculation.
Lin Wanrong fiercely spat at the lake. Only then did his mood improve slightly; a feeling of leisure was suddenly born. What a refreshing feeling it is to spit. I haven’t felt this good in a while. Hell, in this age, there wouldn’t be some old, condescending woman that comes to fine me fifty dollars, right?
Lin Wanrong looked at the reflection on the water surface: sharp brows, bright eyes, courage hung upon his nose, his smile was amiable . . . If he changed into a set of scholar clothes, he would likely be even more playful than those idiots who enjoyed reciting broken poems on the lake.
Sadly, he was clothed in only a set of blue robes, and a pair of shoes that didn’t have a top to them. In comparison to those graceful geniuses’ attire, it was quite miserable. Moreover, he had a completely different appearance than the people who passed by—short hair—and even the hats they wore were incongruous. He was truly unable to blend into such an environment.
The ladies who passed by required only to take a glimpse at Lin Wanrong’s attire. They was no need to glance at his face to immediately give him a “pass”. Their gazes were cast immediately towards the so-called geniuses—who were trembling from the cold wind—standing at the front of the ship.
Suddenly, the beauties on the road all squeezed towards the lakeside, as though mad, and their bird-like cries were rather mellifluous.
“Waa, look, look! It’s Nanjing’s number one scholar Hou Yuebai, Sir Hou!”
“Waa, so handsome!”
“Waa, I’m in love!”
“Ahh, which family’s miss has such luck . . .”
Lin Wanrong looked towards the direction pointed by the ladies’ gaze.
Three decorated ships floated along the flow of the lake’s surface. Every ship had two layers, roughly six to seven meters tall. Lamps were raised high, and on the buildings there were eaves that pointed upward. They could be said to have quite the grand appearance.
On the three ships, there were scrolls fluttering about. On the left and right one, they both had an enormous scroll that rolled straight down.
The right one read “THE SPRING WINDS CARRY MY HEART” and the left one read “MY HEART BELONGS ONLY TO YOU”.
On the middle ship, a young man was standing at the front of the ship. His countenance was fair, he fanned himself lightly, he wore a light smile on his face, his robe fluttered from the wind . . . There was some sort of elegance that exuded from him.
Facing the three ships was an even larger, exquisite ship. Larger than the three ships combined, with similarly, eaves that pointed up. Some sort of airs emanated from it as well. But sadly, there were many surrounding curtains, so no one could see the appearance of the person inside. On a lantern that faced the wind, located at the front of the ship, there was a large golden character written on it: “LUO”.
“It’s Miss Luo! The number one beauty of Nanjing, Miss Luo—” shouted a woman who stood next to Lin Wanrong. Her complexion was full of excitement. Obviously, she was a fan of this Miss Luo.
Whatever the number one scholar of Nanjing was, Lin Wanrong did not care at all. As for the number one beauty of Nanjing, the number one female scholar of Nanjing, that made him feel a bit of disdain. In an era like this, women who knew how to play around with a few words would say they were a beauty. In his era, there were more beauty-authors who relied on their body to write than there are louse on a cow. He no longer saw it to be significant.
“I heard it’s already been two years since Sir Hou chased after Miss Luo for her love. He is the son of the Nanjing’s Magistrate, also a genius scholar whose name spread far. With his family background, his talent . . . Ahh, if I were Miss Luo I could die from happiness!” said a woman in blind love.
“Tch. Miss Luo is titled the number one female scholar and number one beauty of Nanjing. In terms of literary talent, she is no inferior to him. She is also the daughter of the Governor of Jiangsu. In terms of family background, she is even a level higher than him. So, Miss Luo may not have her eyes on Sir Hou,” said another woman, who was clearly Miss Lou’s unwavering fan.
“From what I see, the number one male scholar of Nanjing and the number one female scholar of Nanjing are the perfect couple, a natural pair. Not to mention Nanjing, in all of Jiangsu, even in other provinces, it would be very difficult to find a pair that match each other so well,” followed the blind lover.
Lin Wanrong helplessly shook his head.
On the lake, Sir Hou had already stopped his ship by Miss Lou’s ship. At that moment, he clasped his hands, and was bowing. It was evident he was saying something to Miss Lou’s ship.
After quite a while, a pretty female servant walked out Miss Lou’s ship. She said a few things to Sir Hou, who was on the front of the ship. His expression turned into disappointment, but soon it turned into joy.
Lin Wanrong was too far away from them, so he could not hear what they said. However, looking at Sir Hou’s expression, it was rather strange. Did she accept him, or refuse him? Why was Sir Monkey disappointed then happy?
The blind lover and fan obviously had the same thoughts. Seeing her ship slowly driven to the center of the lake, the fan said pleasantly, “How about it? I wasn’t wrong, right? Sir Hou may not be able to move Miss Luo’s heart.”
The blind lover “tched”, then said, “That may not be so. Looking at Sir Hou, he is extremely happy. Perhaps they will meet during the night or something.”
That would make sense. Looking at the culture of this world, there is a rather large difference between men and women. When romance is discussed, naturally, they would find an empty place when the moon is up and the sky is dark.
As Sir Hou gazed upon Miss Lou’s gradually distancing ship, he remained standing on the spot, still lightly fanning himself, while still wearing a light smile on his face and his eyes straight ahead. His elegant and passionate appearance made Lin Wanrong displeased.
Brat, the hell are you proud about? Talking about picking up girls, your grandfather, I, has a million times more skill than you. Look at your damn infatuated appearance . . . thought Lin Wanrong irritatedly.
It was late autumn, and soon winter would arrive. Chilly winds flew atop the lake, and Sir Hou seemed to be not too resistance to cold as his shoulders trembled once.
Lin Wanrong’s eyes were sharp; he caught that very clearly into his eyes. As he couldn’t help sneering, he thought, Hell yeah. You can go freeze to death, you bastard who wants only style but no warmth! I was even thinking why you seemed so cozy and heated. So, as it seems, you are in heat along with the ladies here!
Lin Wanrong’s sneer caught the attention of several women by his side. Their gazes landed on his body. Seeing his pitiful appearance and short hair, they giggled with their hands over their mouths. When they looked at his appearance, their faces couldn’t help reddening before no longer daring to look at them.
Lin Wanrong’s height was about a meter seventy-seven. Due to his usual persevering physical training, his body was straight, and it was full of power. His looks too were not too bad: his skin was a healthy tanned colour. In comparison to the white-faced scholars of this age, there was a sort of charm that moved one’s soul.
No wonder those girls didn’t dare to look at him after one glance. A man like him had a very strong impact on their hearts.
Back then, when he was studying in Peking University, Lin Wanrong was also a slightly famous “prince”; there was not a small number of female students who had a crush on him.
“Where did this bumpkin come from . . .”
“Look at his pitiful appearance . . .”
“Huang Bro, standing with a guy like him will disgrace your status. Let’s stay farther away from him . . .”
After seeing Sir Hou’s show, a few people by his side, who looked like scholars, had their confidence struck. The beauties next to them also ignored them completely, and instead, concentrated their gazes on Lin Wanrong. How could they not be annoyed?
Top-Grade Retainer (極品家丁) is a finished Chinese web novel by Yu Yan (禹岩). It has over 3.2 million characters, and is listed, on qidian, under the category of “History” and the subcategory of “Fictional History”. There are 691 chapters; the novel was started on 18th March, 2007, and ended on 4th November, 2008.
Personal notes: After a few dozen chapters – admittedly not a lot, but just based on those chapters – I don’t recommend a pickup of this. I may, however, be mistaken that this is a masterpiece later on, or perhaps I’m missing something obvious, but I didn’t particularly like it.
Explanation of the Poem (“Source“)
A person plants peach trees every year, and the season that peach trees bloom is usually when one’s heart is broken (spring). For the first two lines, when spring is described, it states that spring comes late. In reality, the author of the poem wishes that spring comes late because peach flowers always bloom in the instant one’s heart is broken, causing the author to recall sorrowful memories that they don’t want to recall. Yet, the author plants peach trees every year, hoping to see the scenery that “the myriad flowers foresee spring”—projecting the author’s emotions into the peach flowers. The poem is describing a person’s sad yet contradicting emotions.