The people in the house exchanged looks. Lin Dongshi showed them a wry smile, “This is the first time I’m seeing a village chief that washes his hands of such matters.”
“I think it’s great. At least he isn’t bossy and respects others,” said Luo Li.
Lin Dongshi curled his lips and did not say a word.
Outside, Wang Yougui explained the situation to Fangzheng, “Fangzheng, there is a film production company in the province. If they were to film on Mt. One Finger, it would become famous! When the time comes, our village will also bask in your limelight. There will be tourists that will bring world-shattering changes to our village. At the very least, every family will enjoy better days.”
“Patron Wang, what do you think?” asked Fangzheng.
“What I think? Of course it’s best to let them film. This is like having something fall into your lap, best to look a gift horse in the mouth.”
“This Penniless Monk does not have any misgivings. As long as the monastery’s quietness is not disturbed, they are free to do as they wish.”
Fangzheng was naturally happy to help the villagers. However, he could not give the go ahead if these people would end up causing trouble.
Wang Yougui understood Fangzheng’s apprehensions. He had learned his lesson from the Calligraphy Association episode. Therefore, he patted himself on the chest, “Don’t worry. Leave this matter to me! The rules will be made clear. If they dare cause trouble, we will get them to scram. We won’t take their business. How about it?”
“Then, This Penniless Monk will defer to you, nor does This Penniless Monk wish to be bothered by it.” Fangzheng spoke his mind. Firstly, he did not understand the intricacies and secondly, an answer on the farming evaded him despite thinking on it for days. He was in no mood to be involved in such worldly matters.
Wang Yougui was overjoyed. He hung up and returned to discuss the contract.
Wang Yougui’s requests were not demanding. Other than not disturbing the monastery’s peace, the filming crew’s board and lodging needed to be provided by the village. The village did not ask them for an exorbitant price either. The price was fair and hygiene was guaranteed, etc…
Director Yu saw how pragmatic Wang Yougui was and did not plant any legal loopholes he could exploit. Everything was done properly and he was happy with the results. Both sides clicked and everything was settled.
When Director Yu left the village, he even chuckled and twirled his mustache while saying, “This is the first time I’ve encountered such an honest village.”
Lin Dongshi added, “Indeed. But the locations we filmed in the past had mostly merchants, not villagers. It’s normal for them to be snobbish.”
Old Tao nodded. “This is the countryside. The people are honest. This is the first place I’ve encountered that has only raised such trivial requests. Furthermore, they did not even try to cheat us.”
“It will be good if humans are all this simple… Everyone will be more relaxed.” Director Yu stretched his back and leaned back into his seat. He closed his eyes, “Inform the crew to make the preparations.”
“Alright!” Lin Dongshi responded before sending the news.
As for Fangzheng, he was sitting by the door in a daze.
“Mountain is the mountain, water is water… What does this mean? What has this got to do with farming?” Fangzheng scratched his head and he shook it, annoyed.
“Squeak.” Squirrel jumped onto Fangzheng’s shoulder from the wall. Seeing how disheartened Fangzheng looked, he generously gave Fangzheng a pine nut for the first time.
Fangzheng rubbed the little fellow’s head, “Thank you.”
“Yi!” Fangzheng heard a distant strange sound. Following that, Monkey ran back with Lone Wolf closely behind. Lone Wolf suddenly sped up and pounced on Monkey. The duo was fooling around. Fangzheng was amused when he saw this.
With Fangzheng laughing, the two animals stopped and sat up.
Fangzheng understood their intentions. They realized that he had been vexed and had deliberately stirred things up to help him relax.
Fangzheng stood up, “Alright, to think all of you started acting. This Penniless Monk will stop thinking. Let’s go. Time to play!”
“Aiyah! Squirrel, how do you still have bang snaps? Didn’t you throw them all the last time?”
Ah woo! Lone Wolf objected!
“Yi! Yi!” Monkey clapped his hands and laughed. To his horror, a snap bang exploded on his head, giving him quite a fright.
Squirrel took out a small bag smugly. Fangzheng had made it for him and it was used to store his pine nuts. It was to alleviate the need of stuffing the pine nuts into his mouth. But in the end, Squirrel had used it to store ordnance!
“Run!” Fangzheng led the retreat.
Lone Wolf and monkey quickly chased him while Squirrel transformed into a demon king that pursued them with bang snappers…
Fangzheng relieved the knot in his heart in the following days. He recited the scriptures and struck the wooden fish when necessary. When he had the time, he would read the Buddhist Dharma and study the insights others had of the Buddhist Dharma. If he had nothing to do, he would have fun with the animals. Monkey’s arrival helped Fangzheng a lot. As an intelligent monkey, he was given the task of wiping the roof beams and other high spots in the temple hall. As for the Buddha plaque and other things below, Fangzheng did not yet trust him enough.
Seeing how dexterous Monkey was, Fangzheng smiled. “Amitabha. Well done.”
Monkey looked up smugly and mimicked Fangzheng by holding his palms together. He made a few sounds and actually did look like a monk! He scratched his ass afterwards, losing the image.
With a sudden idea, Fangzheng went to the backyard and took out his old monk clothes and gave it to Monkey. Immediately, a monkey monk stood in front of Fangzheng. If not for Monkey’s face and fur, he truly looked human.
Monkey was pleased with his getup. In fact, Monkey liked to mimic Fangzheng. It was unknown why but it could have to do with the Lotus Flower Conveyance that Fangzheng had delivered. He would mimic every action as though becoming Fangzheng was his life goal as a monkey. However, he was just short of something. After dressing up, he felt even more like Fangzheng and was naturally happier. He called out to Lone Wolf and squirrel, ran out screaming and rushed into the distant forest. With Monkey, the picking of pine nuts went a lot faster. Fangzheng had snacks to eat almost everyday. He no longer needed to eat under the watchful eyes of Squirrel.
Fangzheng believed that with competition, Squirrel would be more hardworking and not simply ask to be fed while doing nothing. In the end, he joined Monkey’s camp shamelessly. All he did was eat and drink until he became fatter. He looked like a ball when he ran. Fangzheng even suspected that if he did not need to climb up the tree, Squirrel would likely be as fat as a ball.
With nothing to do, Fangzheng took out his cell phone and read the news. And the moment he did so, he saw a picture pop up in front of him.
Fangzheng could not be bothered with such recommended news but as he tapped to close it, he mistapped and entered the page.