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    Chapter 138: Master Is Trying to Seduce Me to Death

    Chu Wanning lifted his eyelids and glanced at Mo Ran indifferently. "They're looking for you."

    "…Huh? Who could be looking for me at this time?" Mo Ran's eyes were fixed on Chu Wanning, having long forgotten about his interactions with the villagers in the daylight.

    "It's the girl who sang during the day," Chu Wanning said casually. "The prettiest one in the village."

    "Oh, really… I feel like all the girls here look rather similar…"

    Upon hearing this, Chu Wanning didn't respond immediately. Then, he said, "After five years, when did you go blind?"


    Though Chu Wanning's tone was flat, Mo Ran caught a glimpse of a hint of amusement in his eyes, as if he had suddenly found the energy to tease him. Mo Ran was taken aback by the unexpected affection, and his mood brightened instantly.

    A girl named Ling'er held a cloth bundle with blue base and white patterns, calling out energetically towards Mo Ran's room, "Lord Mo, Mo—"

    "I'm right here." A deep male voice sounded from behind her. Ling'er turned around to see Mo Ran lifting half of the curtain and leaning against the door with a smile. "Miss, what brings you here so late at night?"

    Ling'er was initially startled, then overjoyed. She immediately rushed over. "Fortunately, Immortal Sir hasn't gone to sleep yet. Here, I got this for you. I asked Aunt Three for it, just like I mentioned at noon. You... you can use it." As she spoke, she handed him the cloth package she had been holding.

    Mo Ran opened it to find three small clay jars inside.

    "What's this?"

    "Herbal balm," Ling'er said warmly, pointing at her own cheek with a smile. "At noon, when we were in the field, you said you'd been bitten by a mosquito..."

    "Oh." Mo Ran finally understood, feeling a bit awkward. This girl had actually believed his casual excuse and even brought him herbal balm. It made him feel a bit embarrassed.

    The villagers of Jade Harmony Village were indeed too innocent...

    "But the bite shouldn't be severe." Ling'er suddenly stood on tiptoe, studying Mo Ran's face seriously. Her smile widened. "I can't see any mosquito bites."

    Mo Ran cleared his throat. "After all, I'm someone who cultivates immortality..."

    Ling'er clapped her hands and laughed. "You people are so interesting, so amusing. If only I had the talent, I would have wanted to cultivate immortality too. Unfortunately, I don't have the fortune or fate for it."

    After chatting a little more, Mo Ran thanked her and took the herbal balm back to his room. Chu Wanning had already moved to another spot and was sitting at the table, casually flipping through the books Mo Ran had left behind. Hearing the sound, he looked up at Mo Ran again.

    "Herbal balm," Mo Ran said sheepishly.

    Chu Wanning asked, "Did a mosquito really bite you? Come here, let me take a look."

    Under the lamplight, Mo Ran's face had a honey-like hue, slightly deeper but accentuating his striking eyebrows and eyes. Chu Wanning stared for a moment before asking, "Where's the bump? I don't see it."

    Feeling embarrassed, Mo Ran scratched his head. "My skin is thick, it's long gone." As he spoke, he placed all three jars of cooling herbal balm on Chu Wanning's desk. "I don't need these, Master, you keep them. You're more prone to insect bites."

    Chu Wanning didn't comment, only saying, "First, plasters, now herbal balm. I might as well open an apothecary shop."

    Mo Ran rubbed his straight nose, smiling softly and sincerely. Chu Wanning watched him and poked his forehead, saying, "It's late, go back to your room and sleep."

    "Alright, Master, have sweet dreams."

    "Sweet dreams."

    However, that night, in the small courtyard that could be crossed in ten steps, and in the two old cottages, neither of the inhabitants slept as they wished. Both tossed and turned, unable to fall asleep.

    Needless to say, Chu Wanning didn't require further explanation. His soles still tingled, and he could feel the calluses on Mo Ran's fingertips rubbing against him.

    Mo Ran's thoughts, on the other hand, were much more complicated. He tossed and turned, his head resting in the crook of his arm as he repeatedly picked at the seams in the bed frame. He muttered to himself: Master is divine, a celestial being, detached from mortal affairs. Regardless of what happened in my past life, I must not make the same mistake this time. I must not bully him, nor engage in any improper conduct...

    Not to mention Shi Mo.

    Yes, I should think more about Shi Mo... Shi Mo...

    Suddenly, he felt even worse.

    In truth, ever since returning to the Summit of Life and Death and seeing Shi Mo again, he had sensed a lack of enthusiasm towards him.

    Loving and protecting Shi Mo seemed to have become an unconscious habit. He did it all the time, but what then?

    He still felt a sense of familiarity with the Shi Mo from five years ago, but facing the handsome and charming man that Shi Mo had become, Mo Ran felt a strange estrangement.

    This unfamiliarity left him at a loss, unsure of what was happening to him or how to handle it.

    The next morning, Chu Wanning woke up early.

    As he stepped outside, he happened to meet Mo Ran, who had just lifted the curtain to exit their room. The two of them came face to face.

    Mo Ran said, "Good morning, Master."

    "Morning," Chu Wanning glanced at him. "… Didn't sleep well?"

    Mo Ran forced a smile. "The bed wasn't quite to my liking, but it's fine. I'll take a nap during lunchtime."

    They headed out to the fields together. The morning breeze carried the fresh scent of grass and trees. The surroundings were quiet, punctuated occasionally by the croaks of frogs and the chirping of autumn cicadas.

    Chu Wanning yawned lazily. Something caught his eye, and he couldn't help but chuckle.

    "Mo Ran."


    A hand reached over and brushed past Mo Ran's hair. Chu Wanning plucked a blade of rice straw from his head, smiling faintly. "Did you roll around in bed all night? You've got it in your hair."

    Mo Ran was about to protest when he noticed a similar strand on Chu Wanning's temple. He laughed and said, "Then Master must have rolled around too."

    As he spoke, he also helped Chu Wanning remove the golden grass stem from his hair.

    As the sun rose in the east, the two masters and disciples gazed at each other amidst an overwhelming golden radiance, one with a slightly lowered head and the other with a slightly raised face.

    But five years ago, it was Chu Wanning who had his head down, and Mo Ran who looked up. Now, time had reversed, and Mo Weiyu was no longer a young lad. At this moment, it seemed that time finally agreed to settle, and in the gentle morning light, Mo Ran couldn't resist leaping into the field, spreading his arms wide, and laughing at the person on the ridge. "Master, come down, I'll catch you."

    "..." Chu Wanning stared at the knee-high ridges and said, "Are you insane?"


    He removed his shoes and socks, gracefully hopping into the paddy field. The water rippled, sending a slight chill through his feet. With a sweeping gesture of his wide sleeves, Chu Wanning claimed a vast stretch of rice paddies under his authority. "All of this is mine. I harvested fewer stalks than you yesterday, but today, I will make you admit defeat."

    With outstretched arms, Mo Ran scratched his head, the corners of his mouth lifting into a particularly charming smile that etched itself onto his cheeks.

    "Alright, if I lose, I'll make Master an abundance of lotus cream pastries and countless crab roe lion's head meatballs."

    Chu Wanning added, "And plenty of osmanthus-sweetened lotus root."

    "Great! But what if Master loses?" Mo Ran's eyes shimmered with reflected water, translucent like stars. "What then?"

    Chu Wanning gave him a cold sideways glance. "What do you want?"

    Mo Ran pondered for a long time with his lips pressed together before he said, "If Shifu loses, you'll have to eat many, many lotus cream pastries and an abundance of crab roe lion's head meatballs."

    Pausing, his voice softened even more, carried by the gentle breeze.

    "And many, many osmanthus-sweetened lotus root."

    Win or lose, I want to treat you with all sorts of surprises.

    Chu Wanning had become more proficient at cutting rice; as someone who refused to be defeated, yesterday's embarrassment could be overlooked, but not today's disrespect. Fueled by a silent determination, he worked diligently in the field. By noon, he had harvested much more rice than Mo Ran.

    Sitting under the mulberry tree to eat, he felt a subtle sense of pride. Though he didn't say it aloud, nor did his expression reveal it, his eyes kept wandering up to the bund, where his pile of harvested rice resembled a golden mountain.

    "Ling'er, go give Immortal another serving of food," the elder lady noticed Mo Ran eating quickly and his bowl soon empty, so she hurriedly suggested.

    But Mo Ran set down his chopsticks, looking rather anxious. He smiled and said, "No need, I'm full. I have something to attend to, I need to leave the village for a while. I'll be back later, you all carry on eating first."

    Ling'er was surprised, then showed signs of concern. "Did Immortal only eat this little? Was the food not to your liking? If you didn't enjoy it... should I... make something else just for you..."

    "Of course not, it suits my taste." Mo Ran, unable to read the subtle emotions of the young lady, laughed heartily and waved his hand, striding towards the stable.

    Chu Wanning asked, "Where are you going?"

    Mo Ran turned half his face to smile. "To buy something. I'll be back soon."

    "Immortal Lord—"

    "Never mind, let him be," Chu Wanning said indifferently as he picked up a piece of fried tofu.

    Although the two Immortal Lords arrived together, their respective ranks and influence were clear to all. Besides, Chu Wanning's innate cold demeanor made it evident that when he spoke, others should not question further. Thus, the villagers allowed Mo Ran to leave without further inquiry.

    After the meal, people dispersed in small groups. Some chewed tobacco leaves in the fields, others dozed off in the sun with half-closed eyes. Women gathered to weave winter clothing, while children rode on bamboo horses, chattering and playing. A scrawny house cat sniffed the ground eagerly, its pink nose twitching and ears perked up, hoping to find some scraps to fill its stomach.

    Chu Wanning, holding a cup of warm tea, leaned against a grain stack, resting. Seeing the pitifully thin cat, he waved at it, intending to offer it some food. However, the cat was wary of strangers and, upon seeing Chu Wanning raise his hand, darted away, assuming he intended to hit it.

    Chu Wanning: "..."

    Did he look that menacing? Even a cat avoided him?

    Lost in thought with a hand propped up on his cheek, Chu Wanning suddenly heard the tinkling of metal. Ling'er approached cheerfully, holding a cup of tea, and sat down beside him.

    Chu Wanning turned to look at her without much expression.

    The girl was quite lovely, and what made her even more remarkable was that she wasn't frail; she was a plump and healthy woman, a rare find in such an impoverished area. She knew how to take care of herself too. Unable to afford accessories, she had collected scraps of copper and iron, cleaned them, polished them into smooth, warm rings, and strung them onto the hem of her clothes. As she walked, they jingled melodiously, shimmering in the sunlight.

    "Lady Immortal," she called him brightly, her voice like a ripe fruit.

    Chu Wanning replied, "What is it?" His voice was as cool as smoke.

    Ling'er was slightly taken aback by his aloofness, but quickly put on a cheerful facade. "Nothing much, I just saw you sitting alone and thought I'd come keep you company."


    Chu Wanning didn't believe he had a friendly face - the cat was probably the best evidence. However, people were different from cats; cats didn't scheme, but humans might have ulterior motives.

    Sure enough, after exchanging some idle chatter with him, Ling'er casually asked, "Lady Immortal, at the Summit of Life and Death... what kind of person do you accept as a disciple? Do you think someone like me... would be eligible?"

    Chu Wanning said, "Show me your hand."

    "Ahh..." She widened her eyes and then, with excitement, did as she was told. Chu Wanning placed his fingertip lightly on her pulse point. After a moment, he removed it and said, "I won't be taking you in."

    Ling'er's face flushed red. "D-does that mean I lack the wisdom root?"

    "I asked you to extend your hand, so you should have known I was going to test your spirit nucleus. You must have already asked others about it," Chu Wanning said. "Miss, your connection to the immortal path is weak. It's likely you won't be able to establish a foundation even if you practice until old age. It would only be a waste of time to stay in the mountains. It's best to abandon this notion."

    Ling'er fell silent, lowering her head in disappointment. After a while, she moved her lips slightly and whispered, "Thank you for your guidance, Immortal Lord."

    "You're welcome."

    She left quietly, and Chu Wanning watched her go, his feelings mixed. To many in the Lower Cultivation World, joining an immortal sect was a more ardent desire than it was for the common people of the Upper Cultivation World, who pursued cultivation merely to bring honor to their ancestors or gain a good reputation.

    But for those in the Lower Cultivation World, at times, it could mean the difference between life and death.

    Leaning against the grain pile, Chu Wanning took another sip of tea. The weather had turned cooler, and the tea had already started to cool down after just a short while. He drank it all in a few gulps, closed his eyes to rest, but due to having slept late the previous night and being busy all morning, he drifted into a deep sleep. Before he knew it, half a day had passed.

    When he awoke again, the sky was tinged with blood-red, and crows cawed noisily from the treetops. Only neat stalks of rice and scattered grains remained in the fields.

    Chu Wanning was startled and suddenly opened his eyes wide.

    He had actually slept through until dusk leaning against the grain pile. Perhaps it was because of his status that the farmers didn't dare to disturb him. Not only did they let him sleep, someone even covered him with a garment, afraid he would catch a chill.


    A garment...

    Chu Wanning tried to sit up but caught a familiar scent at the tip of his nose. He came back to his senses and lowered his gaze to look at the robe. The fabric was rough, yet spotlessly clean, exuding a faint aroma of soapwort from its seams.

    It was Mo Ran's clothing.

    For some reason, after realizing this, Chu Wanning abandoned his intention to sit up. He relaxed his back and lay down again, half of his face hidden beneath the robe, with only a pair of clear eyes peering out, slightly narrowed, concealing indescribable emotions.

    He must be losing his mind.

    With his soft lashes slightly curled, he searched for that person's figure among the fields. It didn't take long for him to find him since Mo Ran had grown so handsome and tall, making him stand out wherever he was.

    The young man was helping the village chief load the harvested rice onto the ox cart. He was facing away from Chu Wanning, likely feeling hot after a day of hard work like the other farmers who had also taken off their outer garments and shirts, revealing his tanned, muscular back.

    Beneath the blazing sunset, his broad back radiated heat. Sweat trickled slowly down the contours of his muscles, flowing into the small of his back, then meandering downward along his firm waistline...

    He was like molten iron, like charcoal in a furnace, burning all tenderness into a simmering male desire. Chu Wanning watched from afar, and gradually, all other sights faded from his eyes, leaving only that person's vivid fur, the sleek muscles of a leopard, and half of his face turned in laughter with the village chief, his dimples melting and his gaze kind, making him appear both handsome and captivating.

    As if sensing the gaze upon him, Mo Ran turned around. Chu Wanning hastily closed his eyes, pretending to sleep.

    His heart raced like a sudden rainstorm, the sound of blood pulsing in his ears.

    After a while, he cracked open an eyelid, peering through his lashes. Mo Ran had already turned away, and Ling'er approached him, her eyes shy as she handed him a handkerchief.

    "Immortal Lord, wipe your sweat."

    Mo Ran was carrying a stack of hay onto the cart and smiled as he replied, "I'm too busy right now, I'll do it later."

    Ling'er seemed delighted, standing by his side and watching, occasionally reaching out to lend a hand. Mo Ran was surprised by the girl's enthusiasm and said, "Thank you."

    She grew even more elated. This tall, sturdy man exuded an accessible masculinity that was tangible. She listened to his breathing, gazed at his well-defined shoulders, and blushed uncontrollably, momentarily forgetting about the propriety of men and women not touching. With a gentle voice, she held out the handkerchief, "Immortal Lord, if you don't wipe your sweat soon, it'll drip into your eyes."

    Mo Ran hastily said, "No hands, no hands."

    "I'll help you wipe it..." Before she could finish, she felt a chill behind her.

    Chu Wanning had somehow already appeared behind them, still draped in Mo Ran's black, thick cloak. His expression was listless, tinged with the remnants of a newly awakened fury. "Mo Ran," he said.

    "Ah?" The one who had been too busy before immediately dropped the rice stalks, rubbed his nose, and turned around. A smile spread across his face when he saw Chu Wanning. "Master, you're finally awake."

    Chu Wanning examined him from head to toe. "Are you cold?"

    Mo Ran chuckled. "I'm hot."

    As soon as he finished speaking, a drop of sweat hanging from his dark brows trickled down. Unnoticed, it slipped into his eye, causing him to yelp and squint with one eye. With the other eye bright and determined, he gazed at Chu Wanning. Of course, he couldn't ask a girl for a handkerchief, so he pleaded with his master, "Master, my eye..."

    "I've just washed my handkerchief."


    Ling'er, seeing this, quickly offered, "Then use mine—"

    But Chu Wanning ignored her and stepped forward directly. His expression was indifferent, but he leaned in, tilted his head back, and lifted his pristine white sleeve. Gripping the edge of the sleeve, he carefully wiped Mo Ran's brow and eye.

    The author has something to say:

    Short Play "What Exactly is Love?"

    Master: ...I don't know.

    Xue Meng: Praising me, praising me to the heavens, that's love.

    Shi Mo: Sigh, if someone sees me as more than a sinister lotus, that's love.

    Mei Hanxue: If you can help me land the leading male role, that's love.

    Nan Gongsi: Accept only Nao Baijin as gifts, and loving my dog is equivalent to loving me.

    Ye Wangxi: ...Can you love me more than you love the dog?

    Dog 1.0: (Biting the pen) ...Sigh, if anyone has the correct answer, lend it to this deity for a copy.

    Dog 2.0: I feel like I'm close to unraveling the answer to this puzzle.

    Dog 0.5: ...(Impatiently)What kind of absurd question is this?—"What does 'shou' actually mean?" I don't get it, nonsense, take it away, scram!

    Eunuch Liu: (whispering) Your Majesty, this character is read as "ai," not "shou."


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