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    Chapter 141: Master, Don't Take It Off!

    After drinking the water, they resumed their work, but Mo Ran's swing of the wooden mallet sent a chill down Chu Wanning's spine.

    The large movement accentuated the young man's sharp and tense physique. The golden sunlight cascaded over him like a waterfall, flowing down his sculpted muscles. As he raised his arm, his shoulders widened, and his smooth, firm chest was like heated rock, exuding incredible heat and strength.

    The wooden mallet pounded into the stone mortar, its moist glutinous rice cake sealing the impact tightly. When it was lifted again, it brought up a sticky, white paste...

    With each fierce blow, Mo Ran exerted endless strength, so powerful that Chu Wanning imagined if his prediction were to come true—if he accidentally touched him—he would likely be crushed beneath him, turned into dust. Mo Ran was focused, breathing slightly heavily, his chest and heart pulsating in tandem. Beads of sweat glistened between his dark brows, and his Adam's apple rolled subtly. As Chu Wanning watched the flexing of his biceps, he suddenly couldn't help recalling the recurring dream he'd had.

    In the dream, he was on Mo Ran's bed, being invaded, kneaded, and humiliated, just like the rice cake in the mortar, reduced to mud... Lost in thought, he snapped back to reality only when Mo Ran called out to him again.

    "Master."

    Or perhaps several times.

    "Master, Master?"

    He abruptly regained his senses, but his heartbeat was racing wildly. A faint sheen shimmered in his eyes as he swallowed, his gaze slightly unfocused. "Hmm?"

    Mo Ran's cool gaze looked down at him, appearing especially scorching due to his body heat. He said, "Shifu, turn over."

    "..."

    Chu Wanning felt that under this gaze and in these words, the boundary between dreams and reality intertwined infinitely, making him suddenly feel dizzy. A crimson shadow seemed to flash before his eyes, and he saw two figures tumbling on a red bedspread embroidered with golden phoenixes and dragons. A muscular man pressed down on the other, desire stirring like waves in an ocean, with crimson ripples surging. The man underneath clenched his toes and his calves twitched in spasms.

    "Shifu, come, turn over..."

    He seemed to hear the man's hot breath, as if it were right behind his ear.

    "Let me see your face as I make love to you."

    Startled by the illusory vision that had abruptly appeared before his eyes, Chu Wanning shut his eyes tightly and shook his head. What was going on? Was it a hallucination? Or was it too vivid a memory of that spring dream?

    A chill ran down his spine, blood rushed to his head, yet cold sweat trickled down.

    Mo Ran sensed something amiss and put down the wooden mallet, approaching him. "Shifu, what's wrong? Are you feeling unwell?"

    "No." His voice sent shivers down Chu Wanning's spine, as if bugs were biting and ants were gnawing at him. Chu Wanning forcefully pushed him away, raising his furious phoenix eyes, the corners tinged with a faint flush. He panted, despising himself for his wandering thoughts. "The sun is too harsh, I'm just a bit dizzy. Don't stand so close to me, you're all sweaty."

    Mo Ran looked down and, indeed, felt a sense of unease. He knew that Chu Wanning was fastidious about cleanliness, so he immediately stepped aside but continued to watch him with concern, unwilling to divert his gaze for even a moment.

    After that, Chu Wanning remained quiet the whole time. By the time the steamed rice cakes were ready and everyone gathered to share them, he had already disappeared.

    "Oh, you're asking about Lord Chu? He said he had a headache and went back to his room to rest," the village chief said. "I noticed his cheeks were a bit flushed when he left. Perhaps he has a fever?"

    Upon hearing this, Mo Ran grew extremely worried. He abandoned his task of storing the rice cakes and rushed to the small courtyard where they were staying.

    Pushing open the door, he found no one on the bed, which made him even more anxious. Suddenly, he heard the sound of water coming from the kitchen. Without hesitation, he lifted the curtain and barged in.

    There, he saw Chu Wanning standing barefoot on the brick-red floor, holding a full bucket of water as he washed himself.

    It was late October, after the Frost Descending solar term.

    Chu Wanning... was taking a cold shower? !

    Mo Ran was stunned, his face alternating between shades of pale, blue, and red as he stared at his naked Shifu. All he could hear was the roaring of blood rushing through his ears like the surging tides of the Qiantang River, drowning out all other sounds.

    What had he just seen...

    This was the first time since his rebirth that he had seen Chu Wanning's body in its entirety, vividly and without any obfuscation. There was no mist, no concealment – nothing but this familiar form, which shattered the walls he had built and unlocked the floodgates of his repressed memories. He felt his entire being ignite with a searing passion, as if molten lava were surging, yearning to break free from his flesh.

    Everything was exactly as he remembered it, unchanged in the slightest.

    Suddenly, he found himself struggling to breathe.

    He gazed at Chu Wanning's shoulders, their contours and strength perfectly balanced, like a taut bowstring primed for release. He saw the movement of Chu Wanning's scapulae beneath skin as delicate as thin ice.

    Then, following the flow of water, yes, he followed the water, which washed over his vision, guiding his gaze downward. There, he beheld Chu Wanning's slender waist, with shallow indentations on his back that seemed to hold a intoxicating elixir, capable of dooming those who yearned for him.

    Gazing downward, he saw a firm and rounded buttocks, like a plump autumn fruit, one that he knew would elicit an intoxicating sensation upon touch, sending shivers through him during their union, as if their souls would crack open, fusing them together, leaving them forever craving the taste of each other's essence.

    "Lord Mo!" Suddenly, someone called out to him. "Lord Mo, are you there?"

    Mo Ran jumped, turning around. Before he could stop her, the curtain was pulled aside, and Ling'er poked her head in, walking and talking at the same time. "Why did you rush off like that? My mother sent me to invite you to have sweet rice cakes. You—"

    She caught sight of Chu Wanning bathing and instantly lost her voice.

    Chu Wanning: "..."

    Ling'er: "..."

    "Ahh!!!" The girl screamed, hurriedly covering her eyes. Chu Wanning's expression was terrible as he rushed to grab his clothes, flustered and at a loss. Who would have thought that when he came back to take a quick bath, two unexpected visitors would barge into his room? It was like encountering a ghost!

    He was usually casual, tossing his clothes aside by the entrance. Now, was he supposed to walk naked through the entire kitchen, right under a young maiden's gaze, just to retrieve them?

    In the midst of his dilemma, Mo Ran walked straight towards him and, unexpectedly, put his hand against the wall, shielding Chu Wanning in his embrace.

    Mo Ran turned to Ling'er and said, "Leave."

    "Ahh! Yes, yes!" Startled, the girl stood frozen for a moment before she stumbled out of the room, running away in a panic.

    Chu Wanning: "..."

    Mo Ran's face was dark. Once he confirmed that she had truly left, he let out a sigh of relief and turned around.

    He found himself facing Chu Wanning's cold expression.

    Only then did he realize how his actions resembled an aggressive guard dog, baring its teeth and snarling at intruders before turning back to lick its hard-earned meal.

    His hand still supported the wall, pressing close to ensure Wanning was fully covered. So close that he could easily inhale the scent emanating from Chu Wanning's body, causing him to freeze involuntarily...

    His mind was feverish and dizzy.

    Aroma had the power to evoke memories and desires, much like how the smell of meat could stir hunger, or the scent of plum blossoms would bring thoughts of winter snow. It was no different with lust.

    Mo Ran felt his soul stirring, as if the fortress of will he had painstakingly built was about to crumble. The fragrance of Chu Wanning's skin was like a spark igniting in his dry chest, fanning the flames of his primal nature, threatening to reduce him to ashes.

    Even when they were close on ordinary days, with Chu Wanning fully clothed, Mo Ran couldn't help but feel his heart race. How much more so now, with this person standing before him, naked, wearing nothing at all...

    He yearned to seize Chu Wanning's cold, dew-covered wrist, twist him around, pin him against the wall, and tear off his own clothes. He wanted to press fiercely against the man, lift him up, and make their backs align, his chest pressing into Wanning's spine. With raw brutality and ferocity, he would enter as he had done in their past life, where life and death, pleasure and pain, merged in the heat of sweat and gasps.

    He couldn't take it anymore... He desperately desired him.

    Mo Ran's breathing became labored.

    Silence reigned between them, with neither Chu Wanning nor Mo Ran uttering a word.

    They stood pressed against the wall, inches apart, almost touching, but Mo Ran's arm muscles tensed, veins pulsating visibly as he trembled, forcing himself to hold back.

    He couldn't touch him, he couldn't touch him.

    Respect him, love him.

    He mustn't repeat the foolish mistake of betraying his master and ancestors, no matter what.

    He repeated this to himself over and over again, like a mechanical mantra in his mind.

    Though it was cold, beads of sweat were beginning to form on his forehead.

    Can't... can't... Mo Ran, you can't... don't let your thoughts wander...

    His Adam's apple bobbed, and he shut his eyes, trembling, trapping the scorching gaze behind his eyelids. His face was a mask of confusion...

    If this had been any other day, Chu Wanning would have easily noticed Mo Ran's abnormal behavior.

    But in that moment, his own state was not much better, if not worse, than Mo Ran's.

    He appeared aloof, but heaven knew how much willpower he had exerted to maintain his composure and appear calm.

    Mo Ran's breath was hot and heavy, carrying an intense masculinity that almost scalded him. The arms pressed against the wall were robust and muscular, with a strength he had yet to contend with since his rebirth. But he knew that if they were to engage in a contest of raw power without magic, he would be crushed beneath those powerful limbs.

    He refused to meet Mo Ran's eyes, lowering his gaze instead to rest it on the latter's chest.

    Though not physically touching, Mo Ran was so close that only a hair's breadth separated them. He could vividly sense the virile energy emanating from that broad, heated chest.

    It was as if it could melt the coldest ice into a fleeting spring tide.

    "Shifu..."

    The young man suddenly called out to him, and Chu Wanning wondered if it was just his imagination, for the voice sounded slightly hoarse, filled with moist desire and heat.

    Mo Ran had addressed him as "Shifu" countless times, in tones ranging from calm and respectful to angry and playful. But this was the first time he heard a different "Shifu," whispered between parted lips, tainted with the raw sensuality that made it both filthy and alluring. It sent shivers down Chu Wanning's spine.

    Impossible, Mo Ran couldn't possibly call him like that.

    Had he misheard? Had he imagined it?

    It was his own heart that was polluted.

    He instinctively took a step back, his bare back colliding with the cold wall. He shivered uncontrollably, his lips trembling slightly as they parted in a dazed and helpless manner.

    Mo Ran's gaze grew even darker.

    He gazed at those moist, pale lips. Although he remained still, his mind was already filled with fantasies of leaning down to kiss Chu Wanning, forcing open his lips, invading that untouched forbidden territory with his hot and rough tongue. He imagined gripping Chu Wanning's waist, roughly massaging it, leaving brutal red marks on the skin.

    Despite his efforts to suppress it, Mo Ran's veins still pulsed with the blood of a wolf.

    His expression of desire was always intense, fierce, as if he would tear apart anyone who shared his bed, consuming them completely, licking up the last drop of blood and every inch of flesh.

    He couldn't change his carnivorous nature.

    Closing his eyes, he suppressed the burning lava in his chest, aware of the danger. He knew how closely a man's desires could resemble those of a wild beast. He needed to push away the oblivious rabbit before his passion became irresistible.

    He withdrew his hand, almost growling out, "Shifu, I'll go get your... clothes."

    A heavy breath brushed against Chu Wanning's eyelashes.

    Mo Ran turned around and strode to the door, picking up the robe Chu Wanning had left there.

    Still leaning against the wall, Chu Wanning felt as if he had just run a hundred-mile marathon, his entire body drained of strength, leaving him gasping for air. He narrowed his phoenix eyes slightly and saw Mo Ran with his back to him, sorting through the clothes Chu Wanning had discarded. Suddenly, he realized his compromising state and jolted into awareness!

    When Mo Ran had entered, Chu Wanning had been washing himself with his back turned. When Chu Wanning had turned around, Mo Ran was so close that he hadn't looked down and thus didn't notice the arousal.

    But if Mo Ran were to turn back now, holding the clothes, Elder Yu Heng's lifelong reputation for solitude and purity, as well as the image of abstinence Chu Wanning had carefully cultivated, would likely crumble in an instant, reduced to dust.

    Chu Wanning panicked in a split second.

    He watched as Mo Ran separated and neatly folded the clothing, holding them in his arms, and was about to turn back...

    Two options suddenly presented themselves to Chu Wanning.

    Option one: fake a sudden leg pain and crouch down.

    Option two: blind him.

    Before he could choose between these two terrible options, Mo Ran had already turned around and said, "Shifu, you...?"

    What were you going to say?

    He didn't finish his sentence.

    The rest of his words became stuck between his lips the moment he saw the scene before him, buried in quicksand from which there was no escape.

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