Sitting at his temple's entrance, Fangzheng said with a sigh, "System, am I really only allowed to be a monk for the rest of my life?"
"Ji Gong could eat meat and drink alcohol. If your attainment in Buddhism is high enough, you will naturally be able to do so. Mandkesvara Buddha was able to marry and have children. You naturally are able to do so as well," the System answered ambiguously.
However, Fangzheng wasn't swayed by it and scoffed. "Stop bullshitting. Isn't Mandkesvara Buddha still single? At best he had sex with women. It was only physical intercourse, not living the married life and having kids. Tell me straight, will I be able to renounce asceticism in this life of mine!?"
The System fell silent for a moment before saying, "If you become Buddha, you are free to turn secular at any time."
"Become Buddha... Alright. I'll treat it as a tiny goal in life, though it seems a little bleak..." Fangzheng shook his head helplessly. He gave up on pursuing further questions. What he needed to do was focus on the issue of food. He could see the bottom of his rice bucket and there were not many salted vegetables left...
"System, you sure are ruthless. How much are your seeds?" Fangzheng sighed. Without being able to leave the mountain, having eight hundred bucks was useless. He could only spend it at the System's store.
"As you have not done enough missions to unlock more of the System's functions, you can, at present, only buy Crystal Rice. One seed costs a hundred," replied the System.
"A... a hundred per seed? Why don't you go rob a bank?" Fangzheng was truly on the brink of insanity.
"Crystal Rice grows in large quantities, and grows fast," the System answered matter-of-factly.
"So what if it grows fast? How much rice can one seed even produce? Is it even enough for a meal?" Fangzheng cried.
"Crystal Rice is not the ordinary rice of the mortals. It is the rice used by the Buddhist commoners under Mt. Meru. A single seed can produce a catty of rice! In other words, half a kilogram of rice! It is untainted and completely crystalline. When consumed, no waste is produced and everything is instead absorbed by the human body. A human will only ever obtain energy from eating Crystal Rice, and never fall ill because of it. Do you still think it's expensive at a hundred bucks a seed?" asked the System.
Fangzheng was left too stunned to offer a rebuttal. He passively said, "If it's as you say, then that's indeed not expensive. I'll buy one seed as a trial. I do have one question. You said there will be no waste. Does this mean that I will not shit after eating Crystal Rice?"
"Awesome!" Fangzheng gave a big thumbs up.
Fangzheng thought that, since there were no other methods, he could only try it out for now.
However, the moment he said that, a grain of rice about a centimeter long appeared in his hand. It was crystalline and felt like it was filled with nutrients. There was no husk and it looked nothing like an ordinary seed. What kind of perverted seed was this? It didn't even wear clothes?
Fangzheng grumbled inwardly and immediately took the money out of his pocket. He thought, "The System did not seem to take any cash. Could it be that it has waived the fee because I'm handsome?"
However, when he counted the bills, there were only five hundred bucks left!
"System, you stole my money!" Fangzheng turned anxious. That was all his wealth. Even a cent mattered, much less a hundred. His anxiousness made him turn thirsty. He grabbed a cup of water on the table and immediately drank it down.
"Ding! Crystal Rice seed has been sold. The money is automatically taken out. In addition, there is a handling fee of a hundred and a delivery fee of a hundred."
"Pfft!" Fangzheng spewed water out of his mouth as he looked incensed and depressed. "There's a handling fee? And even a delivery fee? Why didn't you say so earlier? Also, why is the fee so high?!"
"When you do a transaction at the bank, is there not a handling fee when transferring money? What problem is there in taking a handling fee? As for the delivery fee, do you know how much distance has to be traversed to send goods instantaneously from the Trichiliocosm to this god-forsaken mountain ghetto of yours? Furthermore, the quality is guaranteed and it is a completely honest delivery. Is that expensive?" the System retorted.
Fangzheng gaped and was once again left speechless. Based on the shipping fees of Earth, the cost of sending something across worlds would probably be more than the cost of selling Earth.
"Heh heh... If that's the case, it seems like I got a good deal." Fangzheng said with a mirthless smile.
"Congratulations. You can now have a sumptuous meal and celebrate."
"I..." Fangzheng was just about to spew some invectives, but held back to prevent the System from sending another bolt of lightning. However, he thought inwardly, "Go fuck yourself!"
With no way for him to win a war of words against the nefarious System, Fangzheng could only concede defeat. After all, the situation was beyond his control.
After calming his thoughts, he took the grain of Crystal Rice and went to the backyard. There was only one seed so there was no reason for him to plant it outside the temple. He found a large flower pot and buried the seed. After pouring a little water on it, all he did further was recite 'Amitabha' as a form of prayer.
With that done, Fangzheng began reading Buddhist scriptures. Since he had to become a monk, he might as well be a little professional. Although he did not have many profound Buddhist texts, he had enough to at least ensure that he would not be too far from the truth when bullshitting in the future...
Fangzheng did not eat lunch, and only drank some water. He took an afternoon nap. One wouldn't feel hungry after reaching a certain point.
At night, Fangzheng cooked a pot of porridge and threw in some of the wild vegetables he had picked in the afternoon. He mixed it with some salted vegetables, and it was considered quite a sumptuous dinner.
Before going to sleep for the night, he took a look at the Crystal Rice in the flower pot. The soil was still unbroken with not a single change. Fangzheng muttered, "Could the System be cheating me? I'll wait till tomorrow. If it doesn't mature in a day, I will give a bad review and refund the goods. A bad review is a must!"
Although he said that, Fangzheng knew very well that the System had a monopoly. Bad reviews or complaints were for naught. It was just a way to console himself.
Fangzheng returned to his room to sleep while feeling suspicious.
In the night, a sliver of moonlight landed on the flower pot. In the next instant, something happened in the flower pot. The unperturbed soil slowly formed a mound as a sprout extended outwards. As it shook, it twisted and constantly grew taller. In a few minutes, it had grown a meter tall. From the momentum it had, it would continue growing!
The next day, Fangzheng was awoken by chicken calls. He climbed out of bed in his sleepy stupor and opened the door. There, he saw Lone Wolf slumped in the courtyard. It clutched an old hen that constantly struggling under its claws. Every time it managed to escape, it would be pounced on by Lone Wolf and dragged back. Clearly, Lone Wolf was fooling around with the chicken...
Fangzheng was rendered speechless when he saw this. He went over and said angrily, "To play with
Lone Wolf whimpered twice.
Fangzheng said in surprise, "You say that this chicken is for me?"
Lone Wolf nodded, as though it was saying, "Yes, it's for you. Quick, eat it. It's delicious."
Fangzheng looked at the plump old hen and touched his bald head. He felt bitter. He had all sorts of thoughts of eating it, but he could only swallow those thoughts and endure. If a curse could result in him being struck by lightning, who knew how the System would punish him for violating his dietary restrictions. Could he be thrown into a pot of boiling oil?
Just the thought of it made Fangzheng wince. Hence, he said, in all seriousness, "Amitabha. Lone wolf, eating chickens is natural for you. Also, you do not believe in Buddha and are not a Buddhist. Hence, you can eat meat. However, I'm a monk. A monk cannot kill and eat meat. If you are going to eat this chicken, go ahead and eat it. If you won't eat it, release it."
Lone Wolf faltered when it heard him and decided to leave with the chicken in its jaws.
Fangzheng looked at the hen's plump body and realized that it could not be wild. Smacking his bald head, he yelled, "Wait! Where did you get this chicken? Mt. One Finger does not have any brothels!" After Fangzheng said that, he immediately added, "Mt. One Finger doesn't have any chickens!" He thought to himself, "Amitabha. I've committed evil once again..."