The food looked enticing, and the flavors were definitely excellent!
The fragrance from the rice, the mellow smell of the lotus seeds, the sweetness of the dates, and all the other ingredients, eighteen in total, effused an aroma so amazing that Fangzheng could discern each and every one of them! When combined, it was a unique savory scent of which a single whiff left his mind refreshed. It felt extremely good!
"This is great!" Just from how the congee looked and its fragrance, Fangzheng was already certain that these were the epitome of perfection.
At that moment, Fangzheng felt the weight on his shoulder lessen as a tiny and nimble figure pounced at the Laba Congee. It was Squirrel! Fangzheng reacted quickly and grabbed the figure.
Having been grabbed, the little fellow was extremely belligerent. He kicked and swung his tiny fists as if he were saying, "If you don't let me eat it, I'll fight you!"
Fangzheng rolled his eyes at the little guy and said, "Heh, you dare oppose me, the abbot? Do you not believe that I will lock you up?"
The little fellow squeaked back disgruntledly.
Fangzheng rubbed his bald head and said, "I ate two of your pine nuts and you want to drink This Penniless Monk's bowl of Laba Congee? That's quite a clever plan of yours, huh? You can have some, but only after This Penniless Monk tastes it. Only then will it be your turn."
"Zhi Zhi Zhi!"
"No? Then I'll lock you up!" After Fangzheng said that, he placed Squirrel on a stove and covered Squirrel with a huge bowl! He said, "You dare snatch food from me? Reflect on your actions!"
Having handled the little squirrel, he lowered his head to eat the congee, but the moment he did, his face turned ashen! Where's the congee? Where's the congee? Where's the congee?!
Fangzheng turned his head, and he suddenly saw a wolf's butt running out of the kitchen!
"God damn it, come back here! I plan on having dog's meat tonight!" Fangzheng was immediately outraged. The most difficult time to guard against an enemy was not when it was an outsider, but when it was an inside job! He had caught one small thief, but Lone Wolf had reaped the benefits from their internecine struggle! A bolt of lightning crashed down behind Fangzheng, but he was already accustomed to it. He ignored it completely!
Fangzheng chased with a broom in hand. When Lone Wolf saw this, he ran as fast as he could. He knew he would end up in a tragic state for his actions today, but he felt no regret when he thought about the fragrance the Laba Congee emitted. How fragrant! It was better than meat! It was better than Crystal Rice! It was better than anything!
"Stop right there for This Penniless Monk! If you do not stop, I won't even let you think of having dinner!" Fangzheng decided to resort to threats after not being able to reach Lone Wolf.
Lone Wolf kept yelping.
"Heh! You think you are ascending to the heavens? That you won't starve for three days after having that one meal? Alright! I'll starve you for three days! Tomorrow, This Penniless Monk will be cooking large amounts of Laba Congee. None will be given to you!" Fangzheng yelled.
When Lone Wolf heard that, he recalled the fragrance from before. His legs went limp, and he came to an immediate halt. He then wagged his tail and hung his tongue out as he scurried over. He looked obedient as he constantly whimpered.
"Pa! Pa! Pa! Pa!" Fangzheng unleashed a barrage of attacks with his broom on Lone Wolf. However, Lone Wolf had thick skin and strong muscles. Because Fangzheng was also not using his full strength, the wolf was unafraid of the pain. He just jumped and rolled around on the spot like a bunny. At the same time, he whimpered in his attempt to explain himself.
"Heh! You only wanted to sample it? Sample it?! Does sampling mean finishing such a big bowl of This Penniless Monk's? You couldn't hold back? If you can't hold back, why did you dare sample it? Take this! No dinner for you!"
Fangzheng finally realized that without using any strength, he could not make Lone Wolf flinch in pain. His broom was close to being completely destroyed. Fangzheng felt his heart wince. The temple did not have many brooms. Every broken broom meant there would be one less to use!
Hence, Lone Wolf was free. He wagged his tail as he followed behind Fangzheng with a laugh. He had already eaten it, so he had not lost out from taking a beating.
At the same time, there was a clang. Squirrel had finally freed himself from the big bowl. When he ran out, he saw the small bowl that Lone Wolf had almost finished. He immediately squeaked in anger as he rushed toward the tiny bowl without giving up any hope. He was pleasantly surprised to see a lotus seed left inside! The little fellow's eyes lit up immediately. He ran around the bowl thrice happily. He constantly squeaked as if he was celebrating something. Then, he prepared to have his feast!
The little fellow jumped up and was about to dig in!
A yellow beam of light flashed. The bowl was gone!
"Squeak!" The little fellow's face was filled with sorrow.
His head crashed down onto the stove as the little fellow held his head and bellowed angrily! He leaped toward the ground and picked up a tiny pebble as if he was about to launch an assault for revenge.
The moment he went out the door, he saw Fangzheng leading Lone Wolf back.
"Hey, little fella, why do you look like you are out for blood? Why do you even have a weapon in your hand? What? Are you going to rise up and start a revolution?" Fangzheng was amused when he saw the little squirrel, chest forward and head held high, looking like he wanted to kill someone with the pebble in hand.
The moment the little squirrel heard that, he squeaked angrily and jumped on the spot. It was like he was on the brink of insanity.
"Alright, don't be angry at This Penniless Monk. This Penniless Monk did not manage to eat the congee either. It was all eaten by this fellow. If you are unhappy, beat him all you want. If he dares fight back, This Penniless Monk will help you subdue him," said Fangzheng.
Squirrel turned his head and glared at Lone Wolf the moment he heard that.
Lone Wolf looked up into the sky, feigning ignorance.
"Zhi! Zhi! Zhi!" After Squirrel was assured that Fangzheng would back him up, a fierce wave of wrath surged within him, and he immediately charged forward. He swung the pebble and began his assault. And... Lone Wolf laid down while casually scratching himself. As for Squirrel's carnage? The wolf felt nothing.
But soon afterwards, Lone Wolf could not feel so carefree anymore.
At mealtime, Fangzheng moved the table which had been used for writing to the backyard. After the table was brought up, it was left there for Fangzheng.
Now, Fangzheng finally had a table for eating.
Fangzheng sat at one side of the table, while Squirrel sat on the table with a rice ball in front of him. Fangzheng ate the Crystal Rice and drank the Unrooted Clean Aqua. He looked like he was enjoying himself.
Squirrel mimicked him and smacked his lips as well.
By the side of the table, Lone Wolf stood up. He placed his paws on the side of the table and stretched his tongue out. He looked eager, but he was ignored by Fangzheng and Squirrel.
"You have already had the congee, so why do you need any rice? Today, you shall know the rules of this temple! Stealing food is shameful!" said Fangzheng.
Squirrel added a remark. Although Lone Wolf did not understand him, it was a way of expressing his attitude.
Lone Wolf turned his head and ran elsewhere. He wanted it out of sight, out of mind.
Fangzheng smacked his lips as he ate. From time to time, he would shout, "How fragrant! So tasty!"
Squirrel was even worse. He took the rice ball to Lone Wolf's side, and instead of eating, he began blowing the rice's scent at Lone Wolf! The fragrance of the Crystal Rice reached Lone Wolf's snout as he angrily turned his head. Squirrel immediately changed directions and continued blowing...
Seeing the two fellows messing with each other, Fangzheng laughed as well.
Finishing the meal was also considered completing the punishment of the wolf for his actions of gluttony. Hence, he rapped the table and asked, "Are you really not eating?"
Lone Wolf looked up and saw that there was rice in his flower pot bowl! He immediately scurried over in high spirits to dig in. As for the unhappiness of being teased, he had long forgotten it.
At midnight, Fangzheng finally heard a notification from the System.