The plaque was different from the plaque that had just disappeared. It was the worn out plaque from the beginning!
"System, I thought you had thrown it away," Fangzheng said agitatedly.
"This plaque has accumulated great merit. It is also tied to humanity. Therefore, I kept it for you. If you had failed, it would have been returned to you and you would have returned to your original state. If you were to pass the temperament test, it would also be returned to you," said the System.
"Thank you," Fangzheng thanked the System for the first time. After giving a Buddhist proclamation, Fangzheng carefully hung the plaque on the wall in his room. This plaque had been personally written by Zen Master One Finger. The more time passed, the more Fangzheng realized that he missed him. The temple had been renovated repeatedly and with that, many things from the past were disappearing. It made him feel extremely uncomfortable.
Now, with the plaque hanging in his room, Fangzheng had the feeling that Zen Master One Finger was accompanying him. It made him feel a lot better.
At that moment, he heard a shout coming from outside.
Fangzheng instantly went out to look. When he came to the yard, he was stunned. He saw Chen Jin, Chen Long, Su Hong, and company carrying a few large bags by the monastery's entrance. When they saw him, they were beaming. It sent a chill down Fangzheng's back.
"Venerable Fangzheng, thank you!" When Su Hong saw Fangzheng, she burst into tears. She ran over and plopped to the ground on her knees. Su Hong was experienced in life. Although she was uneducated, she knew what it meant to be grateful. Her family had been saved by Fangzheng, for which she felt sincere gratitude. She was unsure what she had to do. Kneeling down was a subconscious act she performed as a way to tell Fangzheng that she was truly grateful.
Chen Long and his wife were city people. They did not kneel down, but they brought their son to Fangzheng and thanked him profusely.
Chen Jin was there, but he remained silent. His face suffused redness as his eyes darted around. Clearly, he was having a struggle fighting his stubbornness. Should he not speak because of face issues or should he thank him verbally? Apologizing seemed to be another matter.
Fangzheng was given a fright by Su Hong's kneeling. He immediately dodged but-
"Ding! Saving a life is better than building a seven-storied pagoda. You have saved lives and you can accept this kneel. Doing good deeds is important, but there is something in return after doing a good deed. That is karma. Senseless giving is equivalent to giving out sacred sutra for nothing. The effects would only end up negative.
When Fangzheng heard this, he understood the System's intent. He did not dodge and instead held his palms together. He gave a Buddhist proclamation, "Amitabha. Patron, there is no need for you to do so. What happened yesterday is in the past. Let it go." With that said, Fangzheng helped Su Hong up.
"Master, was it really you?" Chen Long looked in astonishment at Fangzheng. Although he had seen Fangzheng too, he was unsure since Fangzheng hadn't admitted it yet. What if it was really a hallucination? However, that was quite a low possibility...
Fangzheng shook his head and said, "This Penniless Monk is no master but a mere monk. Yesterday's matter was simply a blessed reward you deserve, Patron."
Fangzheng refused to claim his responsibility for what had happened yesterday. He did not admit to it or deny it. There were some things he did not want to explain, nor could he explain them. Even if he explained it clearly, it would only incur trouble.
Chen Long's wife was frightened as well. Chen Jin's analysis was reasonable, so how did Fangzheng descend the mountain? Did he fly down? Just as she was about to ask, she heard Chen Jin's tirade, "What are you asking about?!"
Chen Long's wife was given a fright as she fell silent. Chen Jin came forward and stared at Fangzheng intently with an extremely stern look.
Fangzheng was unperturbed and naturally wasn't afraid of locking gazes with him. He held his palms together and smiled radiantly like the sun at him.
A few minutes later, Chen Jin said with a sigh, "Fangzheng, sorry. I was an old fogey in the past. For a little bit of money and fame, I turned shameless. I went around inciting trouble with that scum monk, Wu Ming. I sullied your reputation and nearly caused you trouble. I admit my faults. If you aren't happy, beat me."
Fangzheng looked at the stubborn old man in front of him and suddenly laughed. He did not have much interaction with Chen Jin, but he knew how stubborn he was. Not only was he stubborn, he was a little greedy for fame and money. If not, he would not have given up his farming business and gone to the seas because of a craze. After he failed in his venture, he refused to return to the village. Only when he was accomplished and aged did he finally return to his roots.
Furthermore, Chen Jin was well known for not admitting to his mistakes. Everything was wrong except him. As a result, this created quite a bit of conflict with others.
Fangzheng never expected Chen Jin to take the initiative to admit his mistakes. This was an unprecedented first! However, Fangzheng still held his palms together and said, "Patron, there is no need to do so. The world is fraught with suffering and the affairs of the human world blind people. It's inevitable to be unable to see things clearly."
Chen Jin nodded and said, "Kid, you are a good man. You know I'm not a good person, but you still saved my family. In this life of mine, I have never owed anyone. But this time, I will not be able to repay you for the rest of my life."
Su Hong rebuked him jokingly, "For you to say something like that sure is rare. Heh heh."
Chen Jin curled his mouth and said, "Isn't that because I'm unimpressed by others?"
Chen Long quickly said, "Yes, yes, yes. My father is the best. Venerable Fangzheng, about that. Can I ask how you went down the mountain? What about the speed-"
"Wha-, wha-, what? Do what about what? Ask about things that should be asked and don't ask things that need not be asked," reprimanded Chen Jin immediately. Chen Long chuckled and knew what his father meant.
Fangzheng was clearly not answering, so it was pointless asking. Questions like why Fangzheng was unafraid of fire or how he lifted the roof beam... All these questions would only lead to more trouble.
As for Chen Jin, despite insisting on going up the mountain to question about the incident, that was only for show. He might not believe others, but how could he not believe his wife and son? If Fangzheng could not be burned to death and his calligraphy could protect people, how could he be ordinary? Taking that into account, it would not be strange even if he really could fly down.
He had been ruminating over the matter on his way up the mountain. He also thought through many things. Fangzheng was a person with real ability and a benefactor. He naturally had to protect him, so how could he give Fangzheng more trouble? If that were the case, he would truly be an old fogey that did not know right from wrong!
This resulted in his present stance.
As for Chen Jin's different attitude down and up the mountain, Chen Long did want to criticize him, but after seeing how his father had straightened out his ideas, he too was a lot happier.
Su Hong said, "Alright, the matter is all in the past. Venerable Fangzheng, there is one thing, though. All of our things were burned, so there was nothing precious we could bring you. We were in a rush and bought some things for you. It's only a gesture of our appreciation. You have to accept it."
With that said, Chen Long quickly brought over a bag of vegetables, timber rice, oil, and salt to Fangzheng.