A familiar college entrance, familiar streets, and familiar surroundings. Most importantly, there was a familiar person!
"This is?" Lu Shuangshuang turned her head to see that the lotus flowers had vanished. She was already situated in a city.
"Shuangshuang, you came." Han Xiaoguo walked over as he looked passionately at Lu Shuangshuang.
When Lu Shuangshuang saw this scene, tears immediately streamed down her cheeks. She asked, "Xiaoguo, is all of this real?"
"Does it matter? What's important is that we have met again, isn't that so?" asked Han Xiaoguo.
Lu Shuangshuang nodded as she drew nearer to Han Xiaoguo's chest. She asked in a whisper, "Xiaoguo, I'm so lonely after you left. I'm so afraid. The responsibility is so great. It's as though the entire world is collapsing down on me. It's so tiring."
"I know. I have seen all the suffering you have undergone. But Shuangshuang, you promised me that you would take good care of Xiaomi. You have to let her grow up healthily. You also promised to lead a happy life, didn't you?" asked Han Xiaoguo.
Lu Shuangshuang said bitterly, "I want that to happen too, but I can't do it... Boohoo! I'm so sad without you by my side..."
"Here." Han Xiaoguo held Lu Shuangshuang's hand, leading her to a tree to sit down. Then, he whispered, "Do you know something? I have never once left your side. I have been by your side all this time. In fact, if you calm down, you will be able to sense my existence. I'm a star in the sky, from where I will watch and protect you forever. You aren't alone and you never will be."
Lu Shuangshuang asked, "For real?
Han Xiaoguo laughed and said, "I know you don't believe in Buddha or in deities. But you should understand that a human's mind is infinitely powerful. If you keep me in your heart, I will stay by your side forever. But if you were to remain in pain, you will chase me away. By burying me, how am I to accompany you? I will suffer with you. You shoulder heavy responsibilities that similarly weigh down on me. Shuangshuang, for you, for me, for Xiaomi, and for this family, you have to be happy. Do you understand?"
"Is- Is what you said all real?" Lu Shuangshuang widened her eyes at Han Xiaoguo.
Han Xiaoguo firmly looked into her eyes and said, "Yes! As real as pearls!"
"Pfft. I believe you. You have lied to me my entire life with that sentence of yours." Lu Shuangshuang jumped into Han Xiaoguo's embrace. She cried as she laughed.
However, Lu Shuangshuang did not know that Fangzheng was about to go mad soon!
"It's true that one only regrets not acquiring enough knowledge when the time for it comes! I didn't watch a lot of romance dramas or read that many romance novels in the past..." Fangzheng was grumbling incessantly. As he cast A Golden Millet Dream, he held his cell phone and searched for similar romance drama scenes like Lu Shuangshuang was experiencing. Then, he would use the lines from the show in Lu Shuangshuang's dream.
Having to multitask was draining. Fangzheng was already sweating bullets. Worst of all, all of this completely eluded him!
Thankfully, Bodhisattva was guiding him. It reached deep into Lu Shuangshuang's memories regarding Han Xiaoguo. Then, Fangzheng infused them into the conversation while he learned on the go. With the augmentation from the Buddha statue and A Golden Millet Dream, the effects Fangzheng wanted were barely accomplished.
At last, Lu Shuangshuang finally seemed to think it through. The trouble he was going through was not for nothing!
A few minutes later, Lu Shuangshuang stopped crying. However, Fangzheng's eyes were red. It was too draining on his mind! It was killing him! He kept praying, "Lady, for Heaven's sake, please untie the knot in your heart. If not, my passing away will come soon! Romance dramas are truly toxic."
Finally, under Han Xiaoguo's coaxing, Lu Shuangshuang finally sorted out her thoughts. She found energy somewhere inside of her as she said confidently, "Don't worry. I will live on happily on your behalf! You will forever live in my heart to the ends of time. I do not care if this is a dream or not, I will believe that you are in my heart!"
Han Xiaoguo was taken aback.
Fangzheng was taken aback as well. Following that, he was enlightened as he laughed out loud.
Han Xiaoguo laughed as well.
Following that, the surrounding scenery shattered. Fangzheng said loudly, "Amitabha. Congratulations, Patron!"
Lu Shuangshuang saw everything in front of her vanish. In the time it took to blink, everything in front of her had changed! The city scenery vanished, and she was still kneeling in the hall. There was silence all around except for the sound of wind. The faint incense fragrance made her feel calm and peaceful.
When she heard Fangzheng's Buddhist proclamation, Lu Shuangshuang stood up and looked back at Fangzheng. She politely said, "Master, thank you for pointing out the right path for me!"
Fangzheng shook his head and said, "Patron, you are smart. All This Penniless Monk did was to give you a slight nudge in the correct direction."
"Master, will you blame me for not believing in Buddhism?" asked Lu Shuangshuang with a smile. At the final moment, she had managed to see through the various flaws. She had also thought things through. She even understood that everything that had happened was an illusion. However, she was able to hold firm to her will. As long as the existence of Han Xiaoguo in her heart was real, was anything else important? Han Xiaoguo lived in her heart and could accompany her forever. Was there anything else that was of importance?
Fangzheng shook his head and said, "Buddha only guides people to do good. It's not important if you believe in Him or not. Patron, for you to get things off your chest, This Penniless Monk has already earned merit from it. This Penniless Monk should be the one thanking you."
"Heh heh, Master, you must be joking. You are a master worthy of respect!" Lu Shuangshuang said respectfully.
Fangzheng shook his head and said, "I do not dare be addressed as master. Patron, you can call me Venerable Fangzheng, on account of me upholding the precepts."
"Mas- Venerable Fangzheng, you are being modest." Just as Lu Shuangshuang's voice faded, she heard Xiaomi's happy laughter coming from outside. She immediately beamed radiantly and asked, "Who is Xiaomi playing with?"
"Two special patrons of this monastery," replied Fangzheng.
Lu Shuangshuang was stunned. Fangzheng had actually left her child in the care of someone else? How could he do that? What if she was kidnapped? Lu Shuangshuang immediately panicked and just as she was about to run out to figure out what was happening, she saw a huge white wolf walk in. It was the size of a calf, and it had slender eyes. It was clear from a glance that it was a wolf and not a dog!
"Such a big wolf?!" Lu Shuangshuang was truly given a fright, and she turned even more worried. However, Lu Shuangshuang was puzzled. The wolf appeared a little depressed. What was happening?
Lu Shuangshuang looked behind and saw Xiaomi tugging at the large white wolf's tail. She was on a wooden plank, seemingly skiing on the snow! On her shoulder was a tiny squirrel who was squeaking away. It was as though it was urging for the large white wolf to go faster and not slack off...
Upon seeing this scene, Lu Shuangshuang was completely dumbfounded. Were these still animals? Those expressions and acts were as good as humans'! Were they demonic spirits?!
"Amitabha, these are the two special patrons that This Penniless Monk mentioned. Well, just like you, they are devotees of this monastery. One of them is a wolf and the other is a squirrel. Don't worry. They are very kind," Fangzheng suddenly came to Lu Shuangshuang's side and said.
Lu Shuangshuang nodded in a daze. Her mind was already blank. She discovered that each thing she encountered on the mountain today was more fascinating than the other. Each of them challenged her understanding of the world. Yet, all of it was real.