As such, whenever different spots released fireworks, Lone Wolf would immediately run over and sit in the best spot to watch them. Squirrel slumped on Lone Wolf's back from beginning to end. He held Lone Wolf's fur and got a free ride. The two animals had a great time.
Fangzheng was no stranger to fireworks. Compared to fireworks, he preferred Sown Street Fires.
As Fangzheng watched from the mountaintop, he indeed saw a person push a flaming cart.
Fangzheng turned euphoric immediately. He jumped up and shouted, "I'm going down the mountain. Are the both of you coming?"
Lone Wolf and Squirrel were still watching the fireworks in the distance, but then the fireworks came to an end after a few more were released. Therefore they ran over, indicating their intention of joining Fangzheng.
Fangzheng led the two animals down the mountain.
Sown Street Fires was a new year tradition of One Finger Village. In the past, all the families would prepare things like cotton balls and unhusked rice and wrap them into bundles. They would be drenched in diesel oil and taken out of the house. The bundles would be lit and thrown on the road.
And even earlier, people used soybean oil. Furthermore, they would scatter them around their house's perimeter, hoping that their new year would be a blast.
However, the cost of doing so was the higher risk of a fire.
Furthermore, with more youths entering the city for work, people began abandoning many of these new year traditions. Therefore, the village stopped doing Sown Street Fires. Instead, one household would be chosen every year and be compensated to sow the streets with fire.
By now, the Sown Street Fires had already become somewhat different. There was an abundance of northeastern corn, so every family had many corn kernels. Once they were dried and drenched in diesel oil, they could burn for a very long period of time after being lit.
Fangzheng descended the mountain and happened to see Dog Song pushing a metallic cart. There was a roaring fire burning in the cart. Amid the flames were corn kernels that had been drenched in diesel oil. Dog Song would use a shovel to scatter a tiny pile of fire in the middle of the road. A tiny flame would then flicker amid the wind. It was really beautiful.
Fangzheng said with a smile, "Patron Song, is your family in charge of the Sown Street Fires this year?"
Dog Song turned around and saw Fangzheng. He immediately beamed, "That's right! I was never a reliable person in the past. I have turned for the better this year, so the village takes good care of me. They gave me this job. Abbot, why did you come down?"
Fangzheng looked at Dog Song, who had completely turned over a new leaf, and he said with a smile, "It's the fifteenth day of the new year. I came down to join in the joyous festivities."
"If I had any say, I would have urged you to come down earlier. It seems so boring up there," as Dog Song spoke, he scattered another pile of flames. Simultaneously, he said with a smile, "Heh, I used to think that it wasn't much when I watched the village chief do this. But now that I'm doing it this year, I realize it's actually quite difficult. The fire is really hot."
Fangzheng's mind whirled as the child in him reared his head. He said, "Why don't you let This Penniless Monk try?"
"You?" Dog Song was taken aback.
Fangzheng asked with a smile, "Is there a problem?"
"This cart is rather heavy. If you can- Uh, pretend that I didn't say a thing." Before Dog Song was done with his sentence, he saw Fangzheng push the cart away. Fangzheng did it in a light-footed and relaxed fashion. Compared to Dog Song's fearful dodging of the fire, Fangzheng's comportment was much better.
When Dog Song saw this, he immediately chased up and said with a laugh, "Nice! You are really strong."
Fangzheng said with a smile, "There's nothing to do on the mountain except for strength training. Leave this metal cart to This Penniless Monk. This Penniless Monk will do the rest."
Dog Song nodded. After exhorting Fangzheng on certain points to watch out for, he left when someone came looking for him.
Fangzheng did not think much of it. He pushed the cart and proceeded forward. Lone Wolf behind him was a little afraid of fire, so he kept a distance from Fangzheng. However, Squirrel wasn't happy with the state of affairs. He jumped down and crawled up to Fangzheng's shoulder. The little fellow was a little afraid looking at the fiery red flames, but he was mostly filled with excitement. He clasped his tiny claws together as he watched with large watery eyes.
At that moment, an item flew into the cart.
A crisp bang suddenly sounded. Back in the day, Fangzheng had been the one who played such pranks, so he naturally wasn't afraid. However, Squirrel was frightened out of his wits. He nearly fell off from Fangzheng's shoulder.
Following that, there was a series of laughter coming from afar. A group of children was holding lanterns. A few of them were even making faces at Fangzheng. They shouted, "Brother Fangzheng, was that shocking?"
Fangzheng rolled his eyes and said, "Liu Rui, do you want to be sent to Heaven? Years ago, it was This Penniless Monk who led all of you in causing mayhem. This Penniless Monk was always the one who received the punishment on your behalf. You dare scare This Penniless Monk today? Do you believe that you will be the one in tears in a moment?"
"Brother Fangzheng, stop scaring me. My mom said that you have become a monk. You can't mess around with us. My mom even asked me to learn from you." Liu Rui's eyes were bright. One could tell at a glance that he was a spirited but very troublesome child.
Fangzheng grinned. He never expected that the perfect negative example of the village had now become a positive role model. He was unsure if he should be happy about it. Perhaps, he should get a big red flower of honor from Wang Yougui?
At that moment, a few firecrackers were thrown over again. They were 'piccolo' firecrackers which would explode shortly after they were lit. They were the perfect tool to scare people.
Fangzheng was no longer the brat he previously was. When he saw the piccolo firecracker flying over, he lifted his foot and kicked it back.
It gave Liu Rui such a fright that he immediately dodged.
However, Liu Rui did not back down. He yelled, "It's rare for Brother Fangzheng to come down the mountain. Brothers and sisters, we should welcome him!"
With that, more than a dozen children lit the piccolo firecrackers and threw them at Fangzheng. He was momentarily in a state of confusion. They were rebelling! Fangzheng waved his hand and swept up a portion of the piccolo firecrackers before throwing them all back. Instantly, the firecrackers crackled, causing the children to scream. However, most of it was joyous laughter.
It was impossible for Fangzheng to reflect all the firecrackers, so there was a portion that fell into the cart. They exploded, sending sparks flying. Two of the sparks were blown by the wind and one landed on Squirrel's head while the other landed on Lone Wolf's body. Instantly, the smell of burnt hair spread.
Fangzheng took a deep sniff and said, "It actually smells pretty good. Should I shave you guys later?"
In exchange, Squirrel and Lone Wolf rolled their eyes at him. They were feeling a bit angry, though. Who had they offended to deserve being bullied by a bunch of brats?
When the children saw Fangzheng's valor, they quickly scattered. The sound of laughter and firecrackers gradually turned distant.
At that moment, a little lass ran over. She looked up at Fangzheng and said, "Brother Fangzheng, this is for you. Liu Rui is such a bully. Use this to bomb him!"
Fangzheng took a look. The young lass had actually given him a double-bang firecracker! He took it from the girl, and on it were the words Heaven Bombardment Firecracker! Fangzheng was instantly at a loss whether to laugh or cry. Use this as a form of retaliation? This made Fangzheng recall a famous line from a general in a famous Chinese TV series, 'Drawing Sword', "Battalion Second-in-command? Where's your f**king Italian Artillery?"
If he were to really use this in retaliation, Liu Rui's parents would probably go mad.
"I'll keep this for now. Do you have a smaller one? This is too powerful," said Fangzheng with a smile.
The little lass took out a box of piccolo firecrackers and a box of bang snaps.
Fangzheng was instantly rendered speechless when he saw them. The piccolo firecrackers were thickened and stronger versions! One stick was equivalent to three or four of Liu Rui's! The bang snaps were similar. The bang snaps of others were about the size of a pinkie's fingernail, but the young lass's bang snaps were about the size of a thumbnail! When thrown on the ground, the sound resembled a clap of thunder! Thankfully, these things could only be thrown on solid ground. They were enveloped by a paper layer and had no solid packaging. They could hardly injure people.