Chapter 33 Passing Three Trials (Part 2)
Upon entering the third chamber, Lin Wanrong found himself unexpectedly facing three men in their fifties, all dressed in plain green robes and small hats, leaving no doubt that they were household servants.
The trio was engaged in a lively discussion, but as soon as Lin Wanrong appeared, they halted their conversation and turned their collective gaze upon him.
A long silence followed, with the three old men continuing to stare at Lin Wanrong, their eyes flashing with amusement.
Puzzled by their behavior, Lin Wanrong examined himself.
Apart from his slightly dirty clothes from the earlier scuffle with Dong Qingshan and the others, there seemed to be nothing particularly noteworthy about him.
Could it be because of my good looks? Lin Wanrong pondered.
He was quite pleased with his appearance, but his aim was to attract young women, not these wrinkled old men.
Growing increasingly agitated by their intense, unyielding stares, Lin Wanrong defiantly locked eyes with the three men.
Their eyes met in an intense, unblinking standoff, neither side willing to back down.
Eventually, Lin Wanrong boldly pulled up a small stool and sat down right in front of the trio, his fierce gaze surpassing even theirs.
“This kid, shameless—” After what felt like an eternity, one of the old men finally spoke, a hint of admiration in his eyes.
“This kid, extremely shameless—” The second old man echoed, similarly impressed.
The third old man nodded approvingly at Lin Wanrong and said, “Your shamelessness reminds me of myself in my younger days.”
Feeling rather insignificant in the presence of such brazen elders, Lin Wanrong realized his own sense of shame was far too thin.
“Shamelessness is a fundamental quality for a senior household servant,” the first old man unabashedly declared.
“Young man, you have the mettle.
I see in you a reflection of my younger self—a rising star in the world of household servants.
Trust me, you're destined to become an exceptional servant.”
Lin Wanrong silently scoffed at the eccentric trio.
The second old man continued, “Congratulations, you have successfully passed all the tests.
If you are willing, you can become an honorable household servant in the Xiao family mansion at any time.”
“Wait, wait,” Lin Wanrong hastily interjected.
“Could one of you kindly explain what's going on here?”
The third old man chuckled, “Of course.
You want to know what these three tests are about, right? Hehe, let me explain.
The first test is to select literate servants.
We don't want illiterate ones.
The second test is to find quick-witted and nimble servants.
We don't want slow-witted ones.
As for the third test, it is overseen by the three of us, the most outstanding household servants of the Xiao family.
This is the most important test.
First, we evaluate the candidate's appearance.
As you know, the Xiao family is prestigious, and anyone unsightly should consider plastic surgery before returning.
Second, we assess their character.
For those with exceptionally honest and reliable character, we need them to guard the storeroom.
We can trust that they won't steal from it.
As for someone like you, hehe, you're a rare and highly sought-after talent, suitable for any role except the storeroom.”
Annoyed by the insinuation that his character was flawed, Lin Wanrong's face showed a hint of indignation.
The old man quickly added, “Don't worry, we're not doubting your character.
For someone like you, we won't judge you based on character.”
“You mean to say I have no character?” Lin Wanrong snapped.
“Hehe, I didn't say that,” the old man replied.
“In fact, we haven't seen a person with such thick skin as yours in many years.
The moment we saw you, we were struck by a sense of awe, as if we were looking at ourselves in our younger days.
We believe that with meticulous guidance and time, you will surely become the brightest star in the world of household servants.
Your future is boundless and full of possibilities.”
After finishing his speech, the old man laughed heartily, his expression suggesting that he considered himself a talent scout and Lin Wanrong a rare gem.
Sighing resignedly, Lin Wanrong realized that he would have to continue cultivating his thick-skinned skill.
Judging by the demeanor of these three men, as long as he was part of the Xiao family mansion, they would likely have him under their control.
The three old men each introduced themselves.
It turned out they weren't exaggerating; they had been with the Xiao family for three to four decades, since the time of the family's patriarch.
The first old man was a ten-time champion of the Xiao family cooking competition, the second was a skilled craftsman well-versed in woodworking and masonry, a multiple recipient of the prestigious “Lu Ban Golden Award.” The third old man, known as a flower enthusiast, excelled in planting flowers and trees and was a recipient of the Xiao family's Labor Medal.
The three old men were all quite interested in Lin Wanrong, each clamoring for him to follow in their footsteps so that their unique skills could be passed on.
Lin Wanrong, however, had no interest in these pursuits.
He only wanted to spend a quiet year here to repay Old Wei's kindness and then move on.
Seeing the old men arguing over him, Lin Wanrong grew impatient and asked, “What's all the fuss about? Who's in charge here?”
The third old man, Uncle Fu, who had the thickest skin of the three, chuckled.
“Your shamelessness resembles my youthful demeanor,” he had said earlier, which had irritated Lin Wanrong the most.
Through the previous introductions, Lin Wanrong had learned his name was Uncle Fu.
Uncle Fu explained, “As long as you pass the first two tests and are approved by the three of us, there's no problem.
We'll simply report to the young mistress, and you can sign the indenture agreement directly with us.”
The young mistress they mentioned was Madam Xiao.
These three men had been with the Xiao family patriarch for a long time and had grown accustomed to addressing her as such since they had seen her marry into the family.
“Indenture agreement?” Lin Wanrong's heart skipped a beat upon hearing those words.
“So, does that mean I'll be a servant to the Xiao family for the rest of my life?”
“Of course,” Uncle Fu confidently replied.
“Once you sign the indenture agreement, you'll become an honorable member of the Xiao household, holding a lifelong golden rice bowl.
Your entire life will belong to the Xiao family.
Living, you are their servant; dying, you are their ghost.
It's an honor many people can only dream of.
Madam will even grant you the Xiao surname, so you'll no longer be Lin San but Xiao San instead.”
“Xiao San?” Lin Wanrong exclaimed.
“For the rest of my life?”
Despite all his calculations, Lin Wanrong had forgotten that becoming a household servant in someone else's home required signing an indenture agreement, essentially belonging to them for life, with no one-year term.
He couldn't accept the idea of changing his surname to Xiao, as his sense of male pride was strong.
“Can I be a contract employee instead?” Lin Wanrong asked, his eyes gleaming with a sudden idea.
“Contract employee?” The three old men cried out in unison, baffled.
“What in the world is a contract employee?”
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