While Fangzheng patted Lone Wolf on his head, he said with a laugh, "I was wondering what had stolen This Penniless Monk's rice. So it was you, little fellow."
When the squirrel heard that, it was given a fright as it stared at Fangzheng and said, "You know how to speak?"
Fangzheng immediately felt like he had received 10,000 points of damage. He knew how to speak? When did he not know how to speak?
Fangzheng said, "I naturally can speak. Squirrels have squirrel language, wolves have wolf language, and humans have human language. Every living creature has their own form of language. It's just that some people do not know it. Little fellow, isn't it not right to steal This Penniless Monk's rice? Have you not stored enough food for winter?"
"What do you mean it's your rice? This was picked up by me from there. As for my stores, I have thrown them all away. Those acorns aren't as nice as this rice," the squirrel said in a bold and straightforward manner.
Fangzheng was immediately amused by the cunning little fellow. It had spoken as if it was in the right and had puffed up its tiny chest high up. However, its eyes were flitting around. Clearly, it was suffering from a guilty conscience.
Fangzheng said with a laugh, "Fine, there's no need for you to steal from now on. If you are hungry, come to me and have some good food."
The squirrel was surprised as it said warily, "Is what you said for real?"
Fangzheng subconsciously held his palms together and said, "Amitabha. Of course it is real. This Penniless Monk can still afford a bit of rice. However, you cannot steal it to be stored away. If you want to eat, feel free to eat it. Do you understand?"
The squirrel shook its big bushy tail and scratched its head. "Then," it asked, "Can I eat as much as I want?"
"Yes." Fangzheng had a hundred catties of Crystal Rice, which was sufficient for him to tide through the winter. It wasn't much feeding a tiny squirrel.
The little fellow was immediately overjoyed. It began doing somersaults as it said, "Alright, alright! Then, since you are letting me eat it, can you make way for me?"
Fangzheng was surprised before he shook his head. It appeared as though the little fellow didn't trust him at all. The squirrel was using little tricks to divert Fangzheng so that it could take the opportunity to escape.
However, Fangzheng had no intention of making things difficult for it. He went straight to bed.
As for Lone Wolf, he was no longer made the scapegoat. Since Fangzheng permitted the squirrel to eat the rice, what else could he say? He, too, went to sleep.
Seeing Fangzheng and Lone Wolf leave, the squirrel heaved a sigh of relief. It ran out with a flick of its big bushy tail and safely returned to the woods in the back mountain.
Over the next few days, the squirrel would come daily. However, it did not come for food. It would only come to eat when Fangzheng was out. Seeing how Fangzheng did not mind it, the fellow also gradually turning bold.
Especially in the recent days, the squirrel was a common sight during Fangzheng's meals.
A week later, the squirrel trusted Fangzheng even more. It would begin joining in when Fangzheng was having his meals. The fragrance of the Crystal Rice was after all irresistible. It finally could not resist the temptation of its cravings and approached bit by bit.
When Fangzheng saw this, he smiled slightly. He picked up a lump of Crystal Rice and shaped it into a tiny rice ball that he placed on the table.
When the squirrel saw this, it looked suspiciously at Fangzheng.
"Take it and eat it," said Fangzheng.
The squirrel looked suspiciously at Lone Wolf too. However, Lone Wolf could not be bothered with it. He was licking his tongue while looking at the rice ball. It was as if he was saying that he would take the burden of eating it if the squirrel did not want to.
The squirrel hurriedly ran onto the table and hugged the rice ball. It stared at Lone Wolf and turned around. After it took a bite of the Crystal Rice, the little fellow seemed to have a tiny motor in it activated. With a few bites, it finished the rice ball clean. It lay on the ground satiated and did not wish to move any further.
Fangzheng took the opportunity to pinch its tiny head. He said with a laugh, "You greedy fellow, eat less in the future. Aren't you afraid that you will turn ill eating so much?"
The little squirrel clearly became nervous. However, after confirming that Fangzheng was only joking with him, with no intention of harming him, he relaxed. Instead, it squinted its eyes as it enjoyed Fangzheng's strokes.
From that day onwards, Fangzheng no longer had lonely days having his meals. While Fangzheng ate, the wolf would be on the ground eating the rice. Crouched on the wolf's head was a squirrel with a rice ball. After eating, Lone Wolf and squirrel would run around the courtyard and have fun.
Fangzheng never stopped them. Instead, he enjoyed such a peaceful life.
Days passed when it suddenly snowed heavily. The snow sealed off the path up the mountain, so there were no more patrons that came up the mountain.
The month finally ended, welcoming the cold December, when One Finger Temple's main door was finally knocked on.
The person that came was Ma Yuan. He yelled excitedly the moment he entered, "Brother Fangzheng, your temple is really efficacious! Liu Xiang is pregnant! Hahaha!"
"Amitabha. Congratulations." Fangzheng was also happy for Ma Yuan. However, he felt a little wistful. His friend was married and was expecting a child despite being younger than him. Although it was not an official legal marriage, it wasn't far from one. He himself was still single. He rarely saw people, much less women! He had two animals, but both were male! The days were truly intolerable.
Ma Yuan had come to tell Fangzheng of the good news. He had also brought some carrots, cabbages, and potatoes. These were essential vegetables that the village had prepared.
Fangzheng thanked Ma Yuan once again. Ma Yuan insisted on offering a high incense and even wanted to buy Fangzheng a drink down the mountain. However, Fangzheng could only reject him politely. After sending Ma Yuan off, the mountaintop turned peaceful once again.
"Sigh..." Fangzheng looked at the empty temple and mountaintop. Feeling somewhat downtrodden, he closed the temple's door and returned to surf the Internet.
Without anything to do, Fangzheng opened a traveling discussion board for the first time. After registering an account, he posted pictures he had taken of the temple, as well as his own picture. He labeled the address before closing the page. He knew that the country had magnificent sceneries abound and that compared to those famous scenic places, Mt. One Finger was truly not worth mentioning. There was also nothing that stood out. He did not know how to write an advertorial, so he could only provide some main points before posting it. It was out of his control if it would be effective or not.
After a few days passed, Fangzheng opened the website once again. And as feared, there were only three replies. They were even all spam.
Fangzheng shook his head and did not continue.
Looking at the money he had, Fangzheng also began to plan for the future. One Finger Temple was too small. It needed to be expanded! However, the cost of expansion was not trivial. The materials used in the construction of a temple were extremely particular. Furthermore, delivering the materials from the foot of the mountain could only be done by manual labor. Machines could not come up at all. As for helicopters?
Fangzheng guessed that his bit of money was probably not even enough for the petrol.
Manual labor was already a huge expenditure. He had searched for the prices of many items on the Internet. He realized that the bit of money he had was not much at all!
"Forget it. After buying the materials, I can just go down the mountain to carry them up every day. I'll save as much as I can. When everything is carried up, I can get a professional to begin the renovations. This way, the temple will be able to have another hall." Fangzheng began planning for the future.
"System, how much does it cost to upgrade Heavenly Eye?" Fangzheng asked.
"10,000 incense money," replied the System.
"Let's try upgrading one level for now," Fangzheng said immediately.
"Are you sure you want to upgrade it now?"