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    Chapter 134: Master Can Eat

    Mo Ran didn't respond immediately. After a moment, his Adam's apple moved slightly.

    It was as if he were struggling in a torrent of desire, desperately clinging to a floating log that would prevent him from drowning, stammering to himself:

    Respect... and love him.

    Respect with the respect of love, and love with the love of respect. He must not profane, harm, or add any extraneous feelings, let alone commit the same foolish and absurd mistakes of his past life, dishonoring his Master.

    Repeating this mantra to himself four or five times in his heart, which burned like molten lava, Mo Ran managed to regain some composure. With an appearance of nonchalance, he walked into the room and greeted Chu Wanning with a smile.

    "Master, you were in here... why didn't you say anything?"

    "I just woke up," Chu Wanning said tersely.

    Dry was the word. His throat was parched, his desires were arid. If a spark were to accidentally ignite, it could set everything ablaze.

    In Mo Ran's hands was a five-tier bamboo food container, which looked heavy. He wanted to put it on the table, but when he glanced at it, all he saw were chisels, drills, tenons, iron nails, and a mess of diagrams. With no other choice, he carried the food box over to Chu Wanning's bedside.

    Chu Wanning seemed to have an even worse morning temperament than usual. He looked visibly irritable as he frowned and asked, "What are you doing?"

    "I saw that there wasn't much left in the Naihe Hall's kitchen when Master got up late, so I made something for our breakfast since I had nothing else to do."

    With that, he opened the food container and arranged everything. On top was a plate of stir-fried wild mushrooms, followed by a dish of tender lettuce and water chestnuts. Below that were silver thread rolls and honey-glazed lotus root. At the very bottom, two steaming bowls of plump white rice were kept warm, along with a bowl of winter bamboo shoot and ham soup.

    Two bowls of white rice...

    Chu Wanning was speechless. So he ate that much in Mo Ran's mind?

    "There's quite a mess on the table. Should I clear it up and bring the food over, or should Master eat in bed?"

    Of course, Chu Wanning didn't like eating in bed, but at this moment, his desire hadn't subsided, and he was relying on the blanket to cover himself. After hesitating for a moment between dignity and embarrassment, he chose the latter.

    "There are too many things on the table, and it'll take a while to clean up. Let's just eat here."

    Mo Ran nodded with a smile. "Alright."

    It had to be said that Mo Ran was a skilled cook. His dishes were already delicious five years ago, and now they were even more exceptional, surpassing those of ordinary chefs. Moreover, he somehow knew Chu Wanning's taste preferences well. He knew that Chu Wanning didn't particularly enjoy porridge in the morning, so he chose button mushrooms instead of oyster mushrooms, and used sweet potatoes instead of red bean paste in the silver thread rolls. The winter bamboo shoots were all fresh tips, and the ham was a perfect blend of lean and fatty cuts, its color resembling the hues of a sunset sky...

    Mo Ran had never asked about his preferences, but everything was perfectly tailored, as if they had shared a life for many years.

    Chu Wanning enjoyed his meal with ease. Though he maintained an unperturbed demeanor, his chopsticks never rested. When he finished the last sip of soup, he lifted his head to see Mo Ran sitting by the bed, one foot resting on the wooden frame of a nearby chair, and one hand propping up his cheek, gazing at him with a half-smile.

    "What's wrong?" Chu Wanning instinctively reached for a handkerchief to wipe his face. "Did I have something on my lips...?"

    "No," Mo Ran replied. "I'm just happy to see you enjoying your food so much."

    "..." Chu Wanning felt a bit awkward and replied coolly, "It tastes great, but there's too much. A bowl will do next time."

    Mo Ran seemed to want to say something, but ultimately held back. He grinned, revealing a set of perfectly aligned pearly teeth.

    "Mm-hmm."

    What a fool. He was cautious and meticulous in important matters, yet careless and lazy in daily life. He hadn't even noticed there were two pairs of chopsticks at the bottom of the food box.

    He had eaten enough for two people and still said there was too much food, leaving him slightly full...

    The more Mo Ran thought about it, the funnier it seemed. He couldn't help but gently place his hand against his forehead, his eyelashes fluttering as he chuckled quietly.

    "What are you smiling about again?"

    "I-I'm just fine," Mo Ran replied, not wanting to hurt his master's pride. His master's reputation was more important than anything, so he couldn't let him be embarrassed. Thus, he changed the subject. "Master, I suddenly remembered something that I forgot to tell you yesterday."

    "What is it?"

    "On my way back, I heard that Master Huaizui left a day before you emerged from seclusion."

    "Mm-hmm, that's right."

    "So you didn't see him when you woke up, did you?"

    "No, I didn't."

    Mo Ran sighed. "Then it's not fair to blame Master for being impolite. I overheard people gossiping earlier that Master doesn't know manners, that Master Huaizui spent five years reviving you only to receive no thanks upon your awakening. But since Master left first, it wouldn't make sense for you to rush to Weibi Temple and kneel in gratitude as soon as you woke up. Those gossipy people are truly annoying. Now that I know the truth, I'll ask Uncle to mention this in tomorrow's morning assembly—"

    Chu Wanning suddenly said, "There's no need."

    "Why?"

    "I have long been at odds with Master," Chu Wanning said. "Even if he were still there when I woke up, I wouldn't thank him."

    Mo Ran was taken aback. "Why is that? I know that Master exiled himself from the temple and no longer has any ties as a master and disciple with Master Huaizui. But his aid in times of crisis for you isn't something to be—"

    His words were cut off by Chu Wanning. "What I have with him is complicated, and I don't wish to speak of it further. If others want to say I have no conscience or am cold-blooded, let them. It's not entirely false."

    Mo Ran grew anxious. "How can it be true? You're clearly not that kind of person!"

    Chu Wanning suddenly lifted his head, his expression turning cold as if a dragon's pride had been wounded, blood pouring out.

    "Mo Ran," he said abruptly, "how much do you truly know about me?"

    "I—"

    Looking into Chu Wanning's clear eyes, Mo Ran saw the frost within, unable to lower his guard, always vigilant against the dangers lurking in the distant city walls.

    For a moment, he wanted to disregard everything and say, I know, I know so many things about you, all of it, even the parts of your past that I wasn't aware of. I'm willing to listen, to share the burden with you. Don't keep everything locked away in your heart, weighted down with countless locks and barriers. Aren't you tired? Doesn't it hurt?

    But what right did he have to say such things?

    He was his disciple, not to be treated casually or defied.

    Mo Ran was ultimately left speechless.

    After a moment of silence, Chu Wanning's tense body gradually loosened like a released bowstring. He seemed somewhat weary, sighing as he said, "No one is a sage, and before destiny, we are even more powerless. There are some things that cannot be controlled by our own will. Enough, let's not speak of Master Huaizui's matter again. You may leave, I need to change my clothes."

    "…Yes." Mo Ran lowered his head, quietly packing away the food basket. As he reached the door, he suddenly asked, "Shifu, you're not angry with me, right?"

    Chu Wanning glared at him. "Why would I be angry with you?"

    Mo Ran's face lit up with a smile. "That's good, that's good. Can I come tomorrow then?"

    "As you wish."

    Pausing, he suddenly thought of something and added, "There's no need to say 'I'm coming in' in the future."

    Mo Ran was taken aback. "Why?"

    "You've already come in! Isn't that a pointless thing to say?!" Chu Wanning was annoyed again, unsure if it was due to Mo Ran's inappropriate innocence or his own unbecoming flush.

    As Mo Ran left, utterly perplexed, Chu Wanning got out of bed without bothering to put on his shoes. He walked barefoot to his bookshelf and retrieved a scroll made of bamboo strips. With a rustling sound, he unfurled it, his gaze fixated on the words written there, his expression inscrutable, silent for a long while.

    This bamboo scroll had been left by Huaizui at his bedside before he departed. It was enchanted with a secret incantation, accessible only to Chu Wanning himself. The handwriting on the scroll was neat and tidy, addressing him as "Young Master Chu."

    His mentor referred to him as Young Master Chu. How absurd.

    The letter was neither too long nor too short, outlining some matters Chu Wanning should be aware of after waking up. The majority of the text, however, was dedicated to making a "request" of him.

    Master Huai Zui earnestly requested that upon regaining his strength, he must visit Dragon Blood Mountain, situated near the Monastery of Endless Sorrow. In his words, filled with sincerity, he mentioned his advanced age and the diminishing days he has left. Recalling certain past events, he expressed immense torment and regret in his heart.

    "Before this old monk passes away, I hope for a final discourse with you. It is said that you still bear an old ailment, one that forces you into seclusion every seven years for a span of ten days. This old monk truly feels regretful. If you are willing to visit Dragon Blood Mountain, I can arrange a healing formation for you. However, the ritual is fraught with peril, and you shall need to bring along a disciple proficient in both Wood and Fire elements to assist in stabilizing the spirits."

    Old wounds... Dragon Blood Mountain...

    Chu Wanning's sword-like eyebrows knitted together tightly, his fingers almost sinking into the flesh of his palms.

    How could it be healed? How could something that had been destroyed, something lost, be restored during those one hundred and sixty-four days on Dragon Blood Mountain?

    Does Huai Zui possess the heavenly ability to heal wounds that penetrate deep into the wood, leaving no trace behind? !

    He abruptly snapped his eyes open, golden light surging in his palm. The sturdy Xiangfei bamboo scroll, in the blink of an eye, crumbled into fine dust under his fingers, vanishing into nothingness.

    He would never set foot in the Monastery of Sorrow again for the rest of his life.

    Nor would he address Huaiwei as Shifu again.

    In the blink of an eye, Chu Wanning had emerged from his seclusion for four days. On this day, Xue Zhengyong summoned him to the Danxin Palace and handed him a letter of commission. Unfolding it, he found within a few simple phrases.

    Chu Wanning lifted his eyelids and said, "This must be a mistake."

    "What?" Xue Zhengyong reread the letter and replied, "It doesn't seem to be incorrect."

    "..." Chu Wanning narrowed his eyes. "It says here that I'm supposed to assist the villagers of Jade Cool Village with their farming."

    "Can't you do that?"

    "..."

    Xue Zhengyong's eyes widened. "You really don't know how?!"

    Feeling slightly embarrassed by the question, Chu Wanning's anger flared. "Is there nothing more conventional, like exorcising demons or something?"

    Xue Zhengyong replied, "It's been rather peaceful lately, so there aren't any places troubled by malevolent spirits. Anyway, Ran'er will be going with you. If push comes to shove, you can just sit back and rest while he does the heavy lifting. He's young; harvesting rice and threshing grain won't be a big deal for him."

    Chu Wanning's dark brows knitted deeply. "Since when has the Peak of Life and Death taken on such trivial matters?"

    Xue Zhengyong responded, "We've always done them. Shi Mo was the one who climbed up a tree to retrieve Old Aunt Wang's cat in Impermanence Town. It's just that we had more challenging tasks before, so we didn't bother you with the simpler ones." He added, "You've only just woken up recently. I was planning to have someone else do it, but I figured you wouldn't be content to just stay idle."

    "I don't... want to harvest rice either," Chu Wanning softened his tone, avoiding saying he couldn't do it.

    Xue Zhengyong said, "Ran'er will help you. Just think of it as an opportunity to get out and take a walk."

    "Can't I just go out and walk without taking on a mission?"

    Xue Zhengyong scratched his head. "That's true. But Yulang Village is close to Butterfly Town, and Ran'er was the one who fixed the Leak in the Sky there. He's not as skilled as you, so you could check if there's anything that needs reinforcing while you're at it."

    With this reasoning, Chu Wanning finally felt it necessary to accept the mission. Silently, he tucked away the letter of commission and left the Heart of Incense Pavilion.

    Author's Note: Today is Little New Year, and I've sent 100 Jinjiang coins as red packets to all the ladies who left their thumbs up yesterday. It's not much, but I hope it brings a smile to your faces. I used the bulk sending function, so if any of you were missed or there was a delay, I apologize in advance.

    I have 2000 Jinjiang coins left. Each red packet sent to readers incurs a 5% handling fee, so I can only send out 19 more. To include more friends, duplicate comments will count as one. So, here we go! The first 19 unique participants will receive a gift – it's first come, first served! Muah~

    Congratulations to all players for entering the new chapter, "I'll Seduce You Till I Win."

    The puppy and his master are about to embark on the easiest dungeon in history, and the female helper is about to make her appearance, delivering the final blow to the foolish puppy, hastening his realization of what love truly is... Damn it, you fool!

    Adhering to the principle that if I can't seduce you all, these little enchanters, I'll perform an act of eating durian right here, let me clarify that there will be no real intimacy scenes in this chapter, but fake ones will abound. I wish you all an enjoyable time watching these simulated scenes! Hahaha~

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