The quartet felt horror as well as reverence towards Fangzheng after seeing him disappear. Fangzheng’s voice sounded like a royal decree. Who would dare disobey it? They waited there obediently as they watched Miao Long giving birth to one knife after another. He suffered in pain, leading a life worse than death.
He had loved knives from a young age. His love for it grew even more when he turned older. The number of restricted knives he collected at home filled the entire bottom of his bed. But today, he swore he hated knives the most!
After numerous births, Miao Long was finally convinced. He yelled, “Master, I realize my wrongdoings. I realize my faults. I do not want to give birth again…”
“Master, I beg for your mercy. I will definitely turn over a new leaf and be a good person,” cried Miao Long sobbing from the pain.
“Master, I was at fault. I’m inhumane. I did things that no human being should do. I will surrender myself to the authorities when I go down the mountain. I will confess to all that I have done in the past.”
Fangzheng stood at the door, watching Miao Long. He could sense that the bloodlust from Miao Long was gradually washing away. Only a tiny bit of negative karma had been removed. Clearly Miao Long had done many sordid deeds. But those were not under Fangzheng’s purview. It was impossible for Miao Long’s karma to be washed clean on the mountain.
After Miao Long gave birth to forty-nine knives, Fangzheng waved his hand, relieving Miao Long from his torturous process. He lay on the ground, looking up into the sky with lifeless eyes. He heaved a long sigh and thought to himself, “It has finally ended.”
“Bring him down. All of you know what you should do. If you continue your misdeeds, the punishment will increase severalfold.” Fangzheng turned to return to the monastery. He closed the door and his image as an esteemed monk disappeared. He heaved a sigh of relief. “Posturing sure is tiring…”
Da Kui, Er Kui, and company had long wished to leave the mountain. Once Fangzheng gave the command, they felt like they had been granted amnesty. They hurriedly ran over, lifted Miao Long up and left the mountain. As for the knives? They did not want to hear anything about knives! They would fight anyone that mentioned knives!
They did not realize that the knives behind them had vanished into thin air. Fangzheng collapsed into bed and began snoring. A Golden Millet Dream was powerful but it was draining to maintain it for long periods of time. As for the security of the monastery, he left it to Lone Wolf.
Da Kui and company had already lost their courage. They did not dare return again. They cursed their parents for only giving them two legs to run away with. They were running down the mountain but it wasn’t nearly fast enough to suit their needs!
Once they reached the foot of the mountain, they headed for a police station without any delay.
A policeman was given a fright when five muscular men with blond hair rushed into the station in the middle of the night. He stood up, “What are you here for?”
“Calm down. We are here to surrender ourselves,” said Miao Long.
“What?” The policeman was shocked. He had seen people surrender themselves but he had never seen people organizing themselves to surrender! The policeman asked, “Why are all of you so wet? Did you jump into a river to steal someone’s fish?”
The quintet: “2#[email protected]…”
After hearing their explanation, the policeman was overjoyed. The winds of the new year had delivered a new year hamper in the form of five people! He seemed to see a bouquet of red flowers, all sorts of commendations and rewards, a promotion, a raise, marriage with a tall, fair and rich woman, eventually reaching the pinnacle of his life…
The punishment the five received did not need elaboration.
Elsewhere someone was extremely vexed.
“Report, don’t report, report, don’t report…” Jing Yan was mumbling and hugging a cat doll with long fur while plucking at it.
She had encountered something fascinating today. As a reporter, her acute senses told her that it was absolutely big news. But the problem was that the news was too strange. If it caused a stir, it would be groundbreaking. If it did not cause a stir, it would appear to be a scam. People would curse her for reporting falsehoods.
That was not important. More importantly, Jing Yan was taking into consideration Fangzheng’s intentions. Fangzheng’s every move from beginning to the end had won her respect. Fangzheng did not appear to be one who reveled in receiving credit or fame. She did not feel it was right to sensationalize what had happened.
After all her thinking, Jing Yan chose to use the plucking of fur to decide on the matter. With the final strand of fur falling…
“Report?” Jing Yan was surprised but she gave a bitter smile. She searched the cat’s body carefully and finally saw something she had missed. With a smile, she plucked it off, “Indeed, I shouldn’t report it!”
With her worries resolved, she threw the cat away and went to sleep! As for her personal hygiene? Sorry, as a woman of the new era she was lazy!
Baiyun Monastery was in a similar predicament. After Fangzheng left a large number of reporters came to ask about the crossing the river on a reed. No one in Baiyun Monastery answered them. Even the villagers at the foot of the mountain seemed to be in cahoots. No one said a thing. Although the reporters managed to prise a few villagers and tourists, they did not seem reliable despite saying it was true.
They were unaware that Zen Master Baiyun did not wish for people to disturb Fangzheng. He forbade them from running their mouth, so it was natural that the monks did not say a word. As for the villagers beneath the mountain, they had feelings for Baiyun Monastery. Although they were impressed by Fangzheng’s magnificent feat, they were unhappy with him at the same time. Therefore, none of them said a word to protect Baiyun Monastery. Some even denied the incident…
The reporters felt like their heads would explode. Did the crossing of the river on a reed actually happen or not?
As for the Lotus Flower Conveyance, only the monks knew about it. They revered Fangzheng as a god and without the approval from Zen Master Baiyun or Fangzheng, who would dare talk about it? The reporters were unaware and thus missed out on a great story.
The so-called farce of crossing the river on a reed continued its fervor for a few days before it lost its hype. With experts and mystery-crackers added to the pot, Fangzheng became a cheat that was playing to the gallery. He was soon forgotten by everyone.
The locals however, continued relishing in their memories. After all, many of the people present when Fangzheng crossed the river on a reed were locals. Outsiders might not believe it but they did! Word spread among friends and was used as a topic of conversation after meals, Fangzheng and One Finger Monastery’s reputation quickly spread.
As for Fangzheng, he squatted by the door, hoping for large numbers of devotees to come. Instead it started snowing.
The snow lasted for three days and came with massive winds. The path up the mountain was completely sealed off.
Fangzheng stood at the door, looking at the snow that had piled up to a meter and a half. He gazed outside with a frown. “What luck. Such heavy snow can even bury a short person. It’s no wonder no one has come.”
“Woo…” Lone Wolf stood in the snow crust and revealed half its head while whimpering. The snow was so thick that Lone Wolf could only jump around like a bunny. After running around a few times outside, he was so exhausted that he hung his tongue out. He refused to go out again.
Fangzheng touched the snow crust which had not fully hardened. It needed a few more days before he could walk on them.
“Whatever. If this snow isn’t removed, there will not be any devotees. Time to get to work!” Fangzheng resolved to get things done!
Lone Wolf quickly ran away with his tails in between his legs!