Yuan Li’s body stiffened, and he was lifted by Chu Hechao like a human pillar, until they reached the riverside.
When he was placed on the ground and his feet touched the soil, Yuan Li remained expressionless.
The shame he felt was even more unbearable than the prickling sensation on his face.
As soon as his feet touched the ground, Chu Hechao pulled Yuan Li towards a sturdy muddy area by the river. Once they arrived, Chu Hechao instructed, “Squat down.”
Yuan Li took a deep breath, trying to alleviate the fiery redness on his face, and slowly squatted down, reaching the river water.
The coolness of the river water brought relief as Yuan Li cupped his hands and poured it over his face.
Upon contact with the water, the itching and stinging on his face gradually subsided. After cleaning his face, Yuan Li breathed a sigh of relief and finally opened his eyes. At that moment, a cloth for wiping his face was timely handed to him. Yuan Li instinctively said, “Thank you,” and took it to wipe his face.
But as he wiped, something felt off. When Yuan Li opened his eyes, he realized that the cloth in his hand was not a handkerchief but clearly a piece of Chu Hechao’s clothing.
He looked up and met Chu Hechao’s eyes, who was watching the scene unfold.
The man was also squatting in front of him, his sturdy thigh muscles tensed. The piece of fabric in Yuan Li’s hand was part of Chu Hechao’s garment draped over his leg.
When Yuan Li quickly averted his gaze, he accidentally caught a glimpse of a bulging mass below the man’s waist.
“Brother-in-law, is my clothing to your liking?” Chu Hechao smirked.
Yuan Li averted his eyes, gazing at the ground and letting go of the garment in his hand. Ignoring Chu Hechao’s attempt to tease him, he sincerely thanked him, “Thank you, General, for bringing me to the riverside to wash my face.”
However, this response clearly didn’t satisfy the man, and his smiling expression turned cold.
Chu Hechao remained motionless, still squatting. Suddenly, he leaned closer, casting a shadow as he lowered his back. His voice became low and dangerous, “Yuan Li what did I do to upset you?”
Yuan Li didn’t understand, “What do you mean, General?”
Chu Hechao chuckled, his lips forming a cold arc, “You know it in your heart.”
Yuan Li was even more confused. He looked at Chu Hechao’s head, suspecting that the man might have been affected by the heat.
“Tell me,” Chu Hechao plucked a blade of grass from the weeds beside him and crushed it between his fingers, “let me know where I went wrong.”
As he uttered the last few words, he emphasized his tone, squeezing them out through his teeth, giving Yuan Li an intense feeling of someone wanting to crush their own bones and flesh.
Yuan Li frowned, “General, you haven’t done anything wrong. Not only that, I should thank you for your assistance.”
“And, General, could you please move back a bit? This position is somewhat… indecent,” Yuan Li politely suggested.
Chu Hechao remained motionless, squinting his eyes as he stared intently at Yuan Li. Clearly, he didn’t care about matters of decency, only focusing on Yuan Li’s response. If Yuan Li didn’t give him an answer, he wouldn’t get up.
Yuan Li looked helpless.
Throughout their journey, they hadn’t had much casual conversation with each other. He couldn’t recall the incident from a long time ago when he had shown concern for Chu Hechao’s sleep and ended up being scolded. In the past month alone, Chu Hechao had indeed not done anything wrong.
“General, if you have something to say, just say it directly,” Yuan Li said straightforwardly. “I really can’t figure out what you mean.”
Chu Hechao carefully observed his expression, and after a while, he realized that Yuan Li genuinely forgot about it. This made his mood even worse. He said indifferently, “The night when you brought out the ice cube, I stayed at your place. A few days later, you started treating me politely.”
Yuan Li remembered now, and a moment of guilt flashed through his mind, along with the memory of Chu Hechao scolding him that night. He quickly put on an insincere smile and replied, “Really?”
Chu Hechao stared at him intensely. “Yes.”
Yuan Li calmly met his gaze, unable to understand why Chu Hechao brought up this matter.
In interpersonal relationships, suddenly treating someone politely carries an implicit message. It signifies maintaining a certain relationship and distance. However, Yuan Li didn’t expect that Chu Hechao would directly ask about it like this.
Yuan Li couldn’t decide whether he did not understand but understood but didn’t want to admit it.
Anyway, with this question, it left Yuan Li unsure of how to answer.
Whether it’s a partnership or a relationship between relatives, isn’t it natural to be polite?
Suddenly, Yuan Li felt his neck itching. Unable to resist, he scratched it a few times before realizing that there were still some debris and thorns sticking to his neck.
His eyes lit up. Wasn’t this a perfect excuse to interrupt the conversation?
Yuan Li immediately pulled down his collar and leaned over the water to wash his neck. “General, let me wash my neck first. The thorns are making me uncomfortable. You can go back; there’s no need to wait for me here.”
Chu Hechao sneered and replied leisurely, “You wash, I’ll wait for you.”
Yuan Li: “…”
He washed even more diligently.
The old tree nearby hung down countless intertwining branches, casting a green shadow. The ripples in the water danced, and sunlight scattered through the leaves, illuminating the surface.
Yuan Li’s neck turned red, partly due to the scratches and partly from his own scratching. Several red scratch marks appeared on his fair skin, resembling crushed berries. The water soaked his collar, so he pulled it down even further, gradually exposing his collarbone and half of his shoulder to Chu Hechao’s gaze.
Chu Hechao glanced at Yuan Li’s neck with the corner of his eye.
As Chu Hechao stared, he became somewhat mesmerized.
Suddenly, Yuan Li turned around and lowered his head, saying, “General, can you take a look at something for me?”
He held up the strands of hair piled on top of his head, and the scent of fresh straw that clung to his body wafted to Chu Hechao’s nose.
Chu Hechao’s gaze abruptly shifted, the loose collar opening up and revealing more of the fair skin below.
He appeared startled and seemed ready to flee at any moment. “Look at what?!”
Yuan Li inexplicably raised his head. “Of course, I want you to see if there is still debris on the back of my neck…”
The remaining words were abruptly cut off.
Yuan Li incredulously looked down at his lower body and then lifted his gaze to Chu Hechao’s face, his eyes gradually becoming peculiar. “When did this happen?! General, you… you have such a fiery temper.”
Truly, he was a hot-blooded warrior.
Chu Hechao instinctively lowered his head for a look, only to see his own brother standing tall and pushing his clothes upward, proudly displaying himself to Yuan Li.
Chu Hechao’s face darkened, and he immediately stood up, about to turn around and leave in a brisk stride.
But as he turned around, he saw a group of sweaty men who had just finished their work walking towards them not far away.
“Why is it so hot today? Even though it’s supposed to be autumn, the weather is still unbearable. Do we have to reach Jixian to feel some coolness?”
Chu Hechao frowned and turned to face Yuan Li, his lips straightened. Without uttering a word, he swiftly jumped into the river, using the water to conceal his lower body.
Yuan Li looked at him speechlessly. “General, your shoes and clothes are still on.”
Chu Hechao’s chilling aura filled the air. His eyelid twitched at Yuan Li’s words, and he glanced up at him. Water splashed all over his body as he jumped into the water, and the way it slid down his neck exuded a sense of sensuality and wildness.
Chu Hechao stared at Yuan Li for a while and then suddenly lowered his voice. “You should come down too.”
Yuan Li found Chu Hechao’s series of actions somewhat amusing. He didn’t rush to wash his neck and instead squatted by the river, enjoying the show. “Why should I come down as well?”
Chu Hechao’s face grew serious, his voice even lower. “It’s strange if I go into the water alone.”
Yuan Li couldn’t help but burst into laughter, trying his best to suppress his shoulder’s trembling.
It seemed like he had been infected by Chu Hechao. Looking at Chu Hechao’s disheveled yet restrained appearance, mischievous thoughts sprouted in Yuan Li’s mind. He propped his chin on his bent knees, maintaining a poised posture, and his smile was incredibly charming. He replied playfully, “But General, what should I do if I don’t feel like going into the water right now?”
Yang Zhongfa’s group approached even closer, and Chu Hechao’s icy expression became even more intimidating. “Aren’t you going to wash your neck?” he said coldly.
Yuan Li smiled cheekily. “This kind of washing is just fine.”
Chu Hechao looked at his smiling face, and a cold smile suddenly appeared at the corner of his mouth. He reached out and forcefully pulled Yuan Li into the water, saying, “Then we’ll do it the hard way.”
Caught off guard, Yuan Li fell into the water. The next second, he resurfaced with a dark face, quickly wiping the water off his face. “Chu Hechao!”
This was the second time!
Before his anger could fully erupt and his words could be completed, Chu Hechao grabbed Yuan Li’s shoulder and swiftly turned him towards Yang Zhongfa and his group on the riverbank.
Yang Zhongfa and his group had already reached the riverbank, and they waved their hands with a smile. “Oh, General, Young Master Yuan, you’re here too.”
Chu Hechao calmly uttered a faint “Mmm” and stood motionless, hiding behind Yuan Li.
To prevent Yuan Li from escaping, Chu Hechao firmly grasped his waist under the water.
Yuan Li stomped heavily on Chu Hechao’s foot, gradually crushing it with a smile on his face. His lips didn’t move, but his voice reached Chu Hechao’s ears. “Chu Hechao, I’ll remember this. You wait for me.”
Chu Hechao’s expression slightly changed, showing a tinge of pain. Others didn’t notice anything unusual, but they found it a bit strange. “General, why are you so close to Young Master Yuan?”
Chu Hechao’s physique was larger than Yuan Li’s, and although it couldn’t completely hide everything, it could at least cover the essential parts, preventing any indecent exposure in broad daylight.
Just thinking about it made Chu Hechao extremely annoyed.
Was it because the weather was too hot, and he hadn’t vented his frustrations for too long?
Or perhaps he really should find a woman?
No one knew how many conflicting thoughts were raging inside Chu Hechao’s mind at this moment. He coldly replied, “It’s nothing.”
After exchanging greetings, Yang Zhongfa and his group also entered the water. They stripped down completely without hesitation, then looked at Yuan Li and Chu Hechao with curiosity. Yang Zhongfa continued, “Young Master Yuan, General, why are you still wearing clothes while bathing?”
Yuan Li grinned slyly. “You’ll have to ask our General about that.”
Everyone’s gaze focused on Chu Hechao.
Chu Hechao remained silent for a while and calmly said, without any change in his expression, “We’re washing our clothes as well.”
The generals suddenly realized what was going on. They were curious why someone would wear clothes while washing them, but seeing Chu Hechao’s expression, they wisely refrained from asking further questions. They chatted and laughed in groups of two or three, no longer pressing the issue.
Yuan Li sneered, “General, shouldn’t you let go of me now?”
Chu Hechao’s eyes shifted and fixed on a stone on the opposite bank. He was prepared to go over there alone to settle things when suddenly He Lang strode towards Yuan Li.
Chu Hechao instinctively pulled Yuan Li who had just taken a step forward, back in front of him.
Yuan Li took a small step backward due to being pulled, his forehead veins bulging. He was about to get angry when he felt something hot against his back.
Both of them froze for a moment.
But it felt so good that Chu Hechao unintentionally nudged again.
After the nudge, Chu Hechao’s whole body stiffened.
Yuan Li’s face flushed from his neck to his ears in an instant, filled with anger. He turned his head sideways, gritted his teeth, and said with a sinister smile, “Chu Hechao, what are you doing?”