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    Chapter 62: What Will I Do If You Become a Monk?

    Upon arriving at the secluded backyard, Lu Nanqing observed his surroundings. Beyond the temple, crowds bustled and chattered, but here, silence reigned supreme, even the chirping of birds and buzzing of insects could be heard distinctly. It truly felt like an idyllic utopia detached from the world.

    Oddly enough, he felt a profound sense of tranquility after entering the yard, as if his entire being had calmed down.

    "Come on, why are you daydreaming?" Jiang Yuduo asked, looking back when he didn't hear footsteps behind him.

    "Should we wait for your uncle and aunt?" Lu Nanqing inquired.

    "No need, they're still in line. Let's go meet the master first," Jiang Yuduo replied. "Who knows when it'll be our turn."

    Lu Nanqing nodded. Arriving at the entrance to the master's quarters, Jiang Yuduo knocked and greeted. He noticed another young man accompanying them. After acknowledging Jiang Yuduo with a nod, the master's gaze shifted to Lu Nanqing standing behind him.

    Taking two steps forward, Lu Nanqing clasped his hands together in front of his chest, bowed respectfully, and said, "Greetings, Master. My name is Lu Nanqing. I've long admired your reputation and have come to pay my respects. Please forgive my intrusion."

    Listening to Lu Nanqing's introduction, Jiang Yuduo couldn't help but fold his arms, lean sideways, and raise an eyebrow. He thought to himself, Tsk tsk tsk, so theatrical? Wouldn't a simple 'hello' and 'disturbance' suffice? Why the need for such formalities and talk of 'intrusion'?

    Jiang Yuduo found Lu Nanqing excessively concerned with etiquette. In ancient times, the emperor would surely appoint him as a Minister of Rites.

    "Glad to finally meet you in person, after hearing so much about you," the Master chuckled, looking at the young man with affectionate eyes.

    Lu Nanqing lifted his head, slightly startled. What did "hearing so much about you" mean? What was the Master referring to?

    "Shall we proceed, my young friend? Would you like a private meeting or would you prefer both of you to join?" the Master asked.

    Without hesitation, Jiang Yuduo replied, "Of course, both of us..."

    "Separately," Lu Nanqing said simultaneously.

    Jiang Yuduo turned to look at Lu Nanqing in disbelief, his gaze filled with hurt and disappointment, questioning why. Lu Nanqing addressed him, "CEO Jiang, please wait for me outside. I'll finish as soon as possible."

    "No, I brought you here. What's there that I can't hear?" Jiang Yuduo tilted his head closer, lowering his voice in confusion.

    "Thank you for bringing me here, but this is a matter of personal privacy. I apologize," Lu Nanqing said.

    Jiang Yuduo found this explanation suspicious, and he raised his voice in protest, "What privacy? This concerns both our families. I have a responsibility too, you know? You can't just leave me out."

    Lu Nanqing rubbed his forehead, realizing that with Jiang Yuduo present, he couldn't confide in the Master. Could he really say in front of him, "The money tree you carry everywhere with you day and night is actually me"?

    It was absurd, bizarre, and... rather awkward.

    "Junior Jiang, let's respect individual preferences fully," the Master intervened with a smile, sensing the tension between the two.

    Jiang Yuduo stood still, glancing at the Master and then at Lu Nanqing. Lu Nanqing met his gaze and subtly gestured towards the door with his eyes.

    In the end, Jiang Yuduo stormed out, brimming with indignation and muttering to himself, I've wasted my time catering to this ungrateful fellow's every need like a servant, and now Lu Nanqing wants to avoid me!

    At the door, he hesitated to close it completely. Then, he heard the Master say, "Actually, Junior Jiang can hear you."

    "I don't want him to know because..." Lu Nanqing began to explain, but crucially, her words were muted. Jiang Yuduo peered through the crack in the door. Her attempt to avoid being noticed was too obvious; he simply stepped directly into the inner chamber.

    "Why wouldn't you want me to know? Is there anything I shouldn't be aware of??" Jiang Yuduo huffed, retracting his hand, then planted it on his hip as he stood outside the door. He resolved to have his mother inquire about the details of their conversation once Lu Nanqing emerged, considering she possessed the "power of money."

    In the inner chamber, the furnishings exuded an antique charm. The tables and chairs bore the visible marks of age, yet this in no way detracted from their rustic elegance and cleanliness. The master poured a cup of tea for Lu Nanqing and waited silently for him to speak first.

    Lu Nanqing expressed his gratitude, took a small sip of tea, and then, struggling to find the right words, he said somewhat disjointedly, "Master, what has happened to me is rather peculiar... A person and a tree, exchanging souls, possession occurring, and then returning to oneself..."

    "I wonder if you can understand me, or perhaps you might think I'm uttering nonsense," Lu Nanqing sighed.

    "I understand, otherwise why would you come to me instead of seeking a doctor?" The Master said with a mild smile.

    Lu Nanqing looked at him. The Master continued, "You, more than Young Master Jiang, believe in such occurrences, perhaps because it happened to you personally. That's why I didn't directly explain it to Young Master Jiang last time."

    Indeed, no one would believe it if it didn't happen to them, especially for someone educated in modern higher learning. Recalling the Master's first words outside the hospital, "I've heard of it" likely referred to Jiang Yuduo asking about his coma.

    "You have a weak constitution, preferring the shade. Your innate balance is insufficient, which is why your soul transmigrated into a tree – a form of self-repair," the Master explained frankly without beating around the bush.

    It sounded like a fantastical tale, but Lu Nanqing believed it. He pressed on with his most pressing question, "But this greatly affects my life in reality. Is there any way to transfer or completely end this process?"

    The Master shook his head.

    Seeing this, Lu Nanqing relaxed his body, a sigh escaping his lips.

    "It cannot be transferred or ended, but it can be supported from the sidelines," the Master replied.

    Upon hearing this, Lu Nanqing lifted his head, his expression somewhat agitated. "Please elaborate!"

    "The self-repair will naturally cease when the soul transmigration ends. Sunset and sunrise mark the turning points," the Master explained.

    Lu Nanqing recalled his state of unconsciousness and awakening, and indeed, it seemed to have occurred around this time.

    The master took out a bracelet and handed it over. Lu Nanqing accepted it, and the master said, "Keep this close to your body. It will allow you to move freely without being restricted by the nodes, but you may fall into a sleep-induced soul shift again."

    Lu Nanqing understood and immediately clasped his hands in gratitude. Even if it didn't solve the problem completely, the ability to control his own unconsciousness was already great, sparing his parents from worry.

    "Is there anything else bothering you?" the master asked.

    Lu Nanqing was about to shake his head, but then something came to mind, and he asked, "The Soul-Transferring Tree... Are there any specific factors involved?"

    The master's smile deepened, aware of what Lu Nanqing was curious about. However, with the current unstable karma, he couldn't divulge too much. He replied, "Yes, young friend, your constitution is somewhat weak. Young Master Jiang's constitution is pure yang and strong, like water, earth, and wealth, which can nourish the tree very well."

    Lu Nanqing pondered these words. The tree likely referred to himself, implying that... Jiang Yuduo was particularly suitable for "nurturing" him?

    This sequence of substitution made Lu Nanqing shudder. He could trust the master on most things, but not this. Being with Jiang Yuduo would undoubtedly drive him crazy.

    Of course, when he thought of "nurturing," he meant it in the context of "caring for the tree." However, exposing the tree to intense sunlight, watering it five times a day, and forcefully applying fertilizers...

    Honestly, he believed he'd managed to "survive" all thanks to himself. Otherwise, that potted plant would have long perished under such treatment.

    "I see," Lu Nanqing replied with a strained smile.

    The master, perceptive yet discreet, changed the subject, and before they knew it, ten minutes had swiftly passed.

    Outside the courtyard, Jiang Yuduo was growing impatient. Breaking down the door suited his style, but it would be disrespectful to the master. So, he settled for a more modest approach. Scanning the height of the adjacent low wall, he gauged the number of leaps needed and scaled it in one swift motion.

    For someone like Jiang Yuduo, who had spent his childhood climbing trees and catching fish, this was no challenge. However, as an adult and CEO, he was conscious of his public image. The sight of him dangling mid-air, peering in with a shifty gaze...

    ...was precisely when he locked eyes with Lu Nanqing, who had just stepped out of the courtyard and unexpectedly looked up.

    Jiang Yuduo: ...What a damn embarrassment.

    Lu Nanqing, without holding back his mockery, chuckled and said, "I never would've guessed that CEO Jiang had a hobby for being a cat burglar. If someone else were to catch you, you'd have to pay a visit to the police station."

    Feeling guilty, Jiang Yuduo retorted through gritted teeth, "I was just... exercising."

    The master emerged, witnessing their exchange with a smile, and commented, "Young Master Jiang truly has a robust physique."

    Caught in the act, Jiang Yuduo didn't bother denying it. Instead, he gracefully flipped over the wall with one arm and landed lightly on his feet. He then casually brushed off his hands and calmly declared, "Master, you might need to raise the height of your gate. Otherwise, it's too insecure."

    "Fortresses protect the upright but not the deceitful," Lu Nanqing replied.

    Jiang Yuduo glared at him, thinking to himself, How dare you, Lu Nanqing? You're already turning your back on me, aren't you? And you even call me deceitful!

    Just as he was about to retort, Lu Nanqing continued, "You should dust off your waist and pants. Be careful, or Auntie Jiang might see."

    This remark temporarily distracted Jiang Yuduo from his rebuttal. He bent down to brush off the dirt on his clothes, knowing full well that if his mother caught sight of him like this, she would scold him and pinch his ears for embarrassing her.

    After cleaning up, he remembered the main issue at hand. As he started walking, he asked, his gaze drawn to the Buddhist beads on Lu Nanqing's left wrist. He quickly approached and held out the wrist, asking,

    "You're not planning to become a monk without telling me, are you?!"

    Lu Nanqing: ????

    The master smiled but said nothing.

    "I'm telling you, Lu Nanqing, I won't agree to this," Jiang Yuduo hastily added.

    Absurd! He brought the man himself, and now he's become a monk right under his nose. Absolutely unforgivable – the Lu family's only heir was at stake. Jiang Yuduo truly felt guilty.

    Trying to remove the prayer beads from Lu Nanqing's wrist, Jiang Yuduo met resistance as Lu Nanqing tried to put them back on. Despite his efforts, Lu Nanqing couldn't match Jiang Yuduo's strength and eventually gave up, asking, "What are you doing?"

    "What else can I do? I can't let you be a monk," Jiang Yuduo replied. "What would happen to me if you became one? I'd be done for!"

    Lu Nanqing found the words ambiguous. He wondered what difference it made to Jiang Yuduo if he became a monk or not.

    "I never said I was becoming a monk!" Finally, Lu Nanqing raised his voice, scolding the impulsive Jiang Yuduo.

    "But you accepted his token!" Jiang Yuduo argued reasonably.

    "This is a protective amulet given by the master, not a symbol of joining the monastery," Lu Nanqing explained, exasperated.

    Jiang Yuduo paused, then asked, "So you didn't agree to become a monk?"

    Lu Nanqing laughed out of frustration and countered, "Can just anyone become a monk? One needs Buddhist affinity and the right circumstances."

    "The entrance to monkhood is like a postgraduate degree; you have the qualifications," Jiang Yuduo responded, sounding oddly naive.

    Lu Nanqing looked up at the sky in speechlessness. Just then, the master suddenly spoke, "Young Friend Lu has both affinity with Buddhism and good fortune. This old monk is quite fond of him."

    Upon hearing this, Jiang Yuduo felt his scalp tingling. He pulled Lu Nanqing forcefully into his embrace and warned cautiously, "Master, that's not very fair. My mother won't agree to it."

    Lu Nanqing, who had been jolted into Jiang Yuduo's arms, felt a bit dizzy from the impact. Before he could recover, the master continued, "It ultimately depends on Young Friend Lu's decision."

    "Lu Nanqing, Lu Nanqing, you can't become a monk, do you hear me? Absolutely not!" Jiang Yuduo shook the person in his arms.

    Already dizzy, Lu Nanqing felt even more disoriented. He raised his hand to cover Jiang Yuduo's mouth, closing his eyes as he said, "Didn't you hear that the master was joking with you? Stop bothering me."

    With his mouth covered, Jiang Yuduo felt something cool, soft, and smooth against his lips, like delicate bone. He didn't remove Lu Nanqing's hand, mumbling instead, "Oh..."

    With the noise gone, Lu Nanqing withdrew his hand. But before doing so, it seemed that his inner wrist brushed against Jiang Yuduo's nose. He didn't have time to ponder over it and extricated himself from Jiang Yuduo's embrace.

    Looking at the person in front of him, Jiang Yuduo thought to himself, There's no scent of orchid, but... there's another alluring fragrance.

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