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    Chapter 77: This Venerable One Is Very Awkward

    After Chu Wanning and Mo Ran left Peach Blossom Spring, they inquired about the dates of various sect fairs and traveled for several days. On this night, they stopped at an inn in a small town.

    Having finally found a chance to rest after leaving the peach blossom paradise, Mo Ran had long since retreated to his own room. Chu Wanning sat at the table, lighting the candle wick and examining a porcelain vase in the warm, yellow glow that illuminated the room.

    In that white jade vase were over thirty golden pills shimmering with light.

    Fortunately, Xuan Ji had brought this bottle of medicine when he came, or else Chu Wanning would have been at a loss as to how to interact with Mo Ran.

    "This is a new medicine refined by Greedy Wolf. There should be around thirty pills," Xuan Ji had told Chu Wanning in the cave at Peach Blossom Spring. "He consulted ancient texts and adjusted some of the ingredients. One pill can sustain you for seven days in your normal form. This bottle will last you a long time, so take it."

    "Thank Greedy Wolf on my behalf."

    "There's no need to thank him," Xuan Ji waved his hand, smiling. "I suspect Greedy Wolf himself is secretly curious about your condition despite his serious demeanor. By the way, he asked me to remind you that the medicine's effects are still unstable. Avoid extreme joy or sorrow, or it might lose its efficacy. Remember that."

    Lost in thought about Xuan Ji's words, Chu Wanning suddenly heard a knocking on the inn door. He quickly put away the porcelain vase and extinguished the incense burning in the celadon censer before slowly saying, "Come in."

    Mo Ran, freshly bathed and wearing a thin linen robe, entered Chu Wanning's room, towel in hand, drying off his long, obsidian-black hair.

    "{Chu Wanning} coughed softly, his expression still composed. "What's the matter?"

    "I don't like that room. Master, can I sleep on the floor here tonight?"

    Noticing {Mo Ran}'s vague response, {Chu Wanning}, not being foolish, sensed something was amiss. "What's wrong with it?"

    "It's... just not good," {Mo Ran} said, stealing a glance at {Chu Wanning} and muttering, "The soundproofing is terrible."

    {Chu Wanning}, always accustomed to his high-mindedness, frowned, not understanding what {Mo Ran} meant. He put on his robe and stepped into {Mo Ran}'s room barefoot, leaving {Mo Ran} no choice but to follow.

    "The room might be simple, but it's not so unbearable that you couldn't sleep," {Chu Wanning} criticized after surveying the space. "Why have you become so delicate?"

    Before he could finish speaking, a loud thud came from the wall separating their rooms, as if something heavy had fallen to the ground.

    {Mo Ran}, too embarrassed to bear listening further, grabbed the corner of {Chu Wanning}'s sleeve and pleaded, "Master, let's leave quickly."

    {Chu Wanning} furrowed his brow. "What's gotten into you? Is there a problem?"

    {Mo Ran} opened his mouth to speak, but before he could find the right words, another giggle drifted through the wall. "Young Master Chang is so wicked, always teasing me... Mmm, please... don't... Ah!"

    "Hehe, darling, that peony on your chest is lovely. Let me sniff and see if it has any fragrance."

    Indeed, the partition wall was thin, allowing the rustling of clothing and a mix of the man's rough breathing and the woman's sweet moans to be clearly audible. It was an unpleasant sound to the ears.

    Chu Wanning initially didn't understand what was happening, but after a moment, he realized the situation. His beautiful eyes widened abruptly, then his face flushed from white to red, then to a deep green before he cursed, "Shameless!" He angrily flung his sleeves and left.


    Mo Ran couldn't help but chuckle softly behind him. Fortunately, Chu Wanning was too embarrassed, walking with both hands and feet in unison, so he didn't hear Mo Ran's mockery.

    When they returned to their room, Chu Wanning drank a cup of tea in silence before he could finally pretend to be calm. He nodded at Mo Ran and said, "Such vulgar language is indeed detrimental to cultivation. You can stay here with me tonight."

    "Oh." When Chu Wanning had suddenly appeared in Peach Blossom Spring without suspecting him and had even protected him, Mo Ran had been pleasantly surprised. Now that everything had settled down, he couldn't help feeling happy. Under the candlelight, his Master's usually cold face seemed much more endearing.

    Mo Ran curved his eyes, sat cross-legged on the floor, and propped his chin up as he looked up at Chu Wanning.

    "What are you looking at?"

    "It's been a while since I've seen you, Master. I just want to look more." The young man's voice was filled with a gentle smile, and his gaze was warm and bright.

    Upon closer inspection, Chu Wanning... really resembled Junior Apprentice Brother Xia.

    Chu Wanning glared at him. "Instead of staring at me, why not go wipe your hair? How can you sleep with it all wet?"

    "I left the towel in the next room," Mo Ran said with a smile. "Can Master help me?"


    Xue Meng had once been injured and couldn't lift his arm for quite some time. During that period, it was Master who helped him dry his hair after washing it. Master always did it quickly, as he could skillfully control his spiritual energy to heat up and dry the towel in his hands.

    Chu Wanning glanced down at Mo Ran's fully functioning limbs and harrumphed. "If you're not injured or sick, why should I help you?"

    Nonetheless, he beckoned for Mo Ran to come over.

    The warm candlelight illuminated Mo Ran's incomparably handsome young face.

    Mo Ran sat on the bed. It had nearly been a year since his rebirth, and he was in the midst of a growth spurt. In the past few months, he had unknowingly grown much taller, now almost as tall as Chu Wanning.

    At this height, it was inconvenient for Chu Wanning to dry Mo Ran's hair, so Mo Ran propped himself up with both hands behind his back, lowering his body slightly. Chu Wanning stood by the bedside, rubbing impatiently at Mo Ran's long tresses.

    Mo Ran yawned contentedly, squinting his eyes to savor the rare tranquility.

    Occasionally, a frog croaked outside the window.



    "Do you know that while I was inside the Feathered people's illusion, I went back two hundred years to Linan and met someone named Chu Xun."

    The motion of wiping his sword did not pause for a moment. "How would I know?"

    Mo Ran chuckled, rubbing his nose. "He looks so much like you."

    "...There are plenty of people in this world who resemble each other. What's so strange about that?"

    "No," Mo Ran said seriously. "He's almost your spitting image, Shifu. Do you think he could be one of your ancestors?"

    Chu Wanning replied coolly, "It's possible. But that was two hundred years ago. Who can say for sure?"

    "He also has a son," Mo Ran mused aloud. "He looks so much like Junior Apprentice Brother Xia, I think it's too coincidental. Master, do you think Junior Apprentice Brother Xia could be a long-lost relative of yours?"

    "I have no family," Chu Wanning replied.

    "Well, he's long-lost, isn't he…" Mo Ran muttered, leaning very close to Chu Wanning. He could smell the subtle, soothing fragrance of the flowering crabapple on the other man.

    It smelled so good. In both his past and present lives, Chu Wanning's scent seemed to have a calming effect on him. In his previous life, amidst the blood and chaos, he would bury his face in his Master's neck to catch a moment of respite in this world.

    Whether he was willing to admit it or not, he was addicted to Chu Wanning's scent and couldn't shake it off.

    Closing his eyes, he allowed himself to drift in this familiar tranquility, losing track of time.

    In his past life, in the deserted Wu Mountain Temple, he had returned after committing murder, drenched from the rain. Despite his heinous crimes, he felt like a stray dog with nowhere to go.

    Back then, he would sit down and hug Chu Wanning's waist, burying his face in his abdomen, repeatedly asking for Chu Wanning to stroke his hair – only then could he barely restrain his escalating madness.

    Those old memories seemed like distant echoes from a sea of past events.

    But with his eyes closed, they felt as if they happened just yesterday.

    Chu Wanning observed the incessant chatterbox's silence and lowered his gaze, only to find a tranquil face illuminated by the dim candlelight.

    Despite a hint of youthful innocence still lingering in his brows, the young man's features had matured, revealing a chiseled handsomeness. He resembled a blossoming flower bone emerging from the mist, exuding the vitality and freshness of youth.

    Chu Wanning's hand stilled slightly, and his heartbeat seemed to quicken.

    Inexplicably, he softly called out, "Mo Ran."


    Lost in thought, Mo Ran vaguely responded, sounding a bit weary. As before, he nestled his face against Chu Wanning's waist, just like in their previous life.

    Chu Wanning: "..."

    Thump. Thump. Thump.

    His rapid heartbeat echoed like war drums on a battlefield, causing a momentary dizziness and disorientation.

    Chu Wanning pressed his lips together, unsure of what to do. Resuming his task, he continued to pat Mo Ran's hair dry, eliminating the last traces of moisture.

    For a long while, he dropped the towel and gently brushed aside the stray hairs on Mo Ran's forehead. He spoke in a deep voice, "That's it. Go to bed."

    Mo Ran opened his eyes. His dark purple irises were momentarily dazed before clarity returned.

    He finally snapped back to reality, remembering that he had leaned against Chu Wanning's waist out of habit, and Chu Wanning hadn't pushed him away. Startled, he stared wide-eyed like an idiotic puppy.

    Chu Wanning had been slightly uncomfortable, but seeing this, he couldn't help but smile.

    Seeing that he was actually smiling, albeit faintly, Mo Ran's eyes widened even more. He sat up straight with his messy hair and said earnestly, "Shifu, you have a nice scent."


    Pausing, he suddenly furrowed his brows as if trying hard to recall something. Then, realization dawned upon him, and he muttered in bewilderment, "How strange. Xia Sini also has this scent?"

    Chu Wanning's expression changed abruptly.

    Before Mo Ran could react, Chu Wanning threw the towel at him, lifted him up, and tossed him off the bed. In a cold voice, he said, "I'm tired. Scram and sleep downstairs."

    Mo Ran was caught off guard and landed on the floor with a thud. Lying there for a while, he sat up, rubbing his nose. Not angry, he got up obediently and started making his bed on the floor.

    Author's Note: A Mini-Drama:

    Heavenly Inquiry: What would happen if Xue Meng shared a room with the Master?

    Meat Bun: Xue Meng wouldn't be able to sleep at all; he'd spend the whole night on edge, waiting to pay his respects to the Master in the morning, lol.

    Heavenly Inquiry: What if Shi Mo shared a room with the Master?

    Meat Bun: Mo Ran would probably destroy the inn.

    Heavenly Inquiry: If Mo Ran 1.0 shared a room with the Master, what would happen?

    Meat Bun: As described in the text.

    Heavenly Inquiry: And if Mo Ran 0.5 were in the same room as the Master?

    Meat Bun: Do you even need to ask? The Master would sleep in the bed, and Mo Ran would sleep on top of the Master.

    Heavenly Inquiry: What about Mo Ran 2.0 sharing a room with the Master?

    Meat Bun: Pah, don't even think about getting me to spoil it.

    Heavenly Inquiry: ??? Where's the promised truth I can extract from anyone???


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