Du Mei found Fangzheng's words somewhat postured, but not unreasonable. She waved her hand and said, "I don't understand. Forget it, I'll go pay my respects to Buddha. I still need to return home to tend to the paddy."
When Yang Hua saw that Du Mei had returned to the topic at hand, he heaved a sigh of relief. After informing Fangzheng, he went into the temple hall.
However, when they entered the hall, they saw a new plaque at the entrance. They were somewhat curious so they looked at it, and were given quite a surprise.
Du Mei exclaimed, "Fangzheng, your high incense costs two hundred? Isn't that overly shady? I'm telling you, you have to be honest as a person. You can't be so shady. You have to change this immediately!"
Fangzheng said with a wry smile, "Auntie, this price wasn't set by me. It was set by my master. He passed away and, as his disciple, I can't wantonly change the price he set. Am I wrong?" Fangzheng knew that it was pointless to attempt to reason with her. He could not explain it away with the true mastermind, the System, so he could only explain it away with One Finger.
Although One Finger was poor, he was well respected by the villagers. Upon hearing that it was One Finger's final will, Du Mei did not speak another word.
Yang Hua spoke in support. "That's right. Why do you care how much his temple charges? If you don't have the money to offer high incense, can't you just offer ordinary incense? That's free."
"Look at you. We've spent thousands at the hospital and spent hundreds on voodoo solutions. Now that we are here imploring Buddha, you want to save money? Didn't you hear what Fangzheng said? Efficacy depends on sincerity. This attitude of yours definitely lacks sincerity!" said Du Mei.
Yang Hua looked bitter while Fangzheng was secretly laughing. She was as domineering as always!
Finally, Yang Hua took out four hundred bucks to place on the ground before taking two incense sticks inside. The duo only had one wish so one incense would have been sufficient. However, Du Mei wanted to offer an incense herself so Yang Hua had no choice but to buy it, no matter how much he felt the pinch.
The duo held the incense sticks and bowed while standing before kneeling down to bow. They silently prayed and, after a long time, they stood up and placed the incense into the incense cauldron before leaving.
Fangzheng stood at the entrance, waiting for them.
When the duo came out, Du Mei asked Yang Hua, "What did you wish for?"
Yang Hua said, "Don't talk about it. I was originally going to wish for a son. But after spending the money on the incense, I had a thought. I thought that since wishing for one is a wish, and wishing for two is also a wish, I wished for an additional daughter. Twins! A boy and girl! What about you?"
"Look at you. What twins..." Du Mei answered with a little shyness before she added, "Me too."
The two were immediately amused.
Fangzheng was also amused but was met with rolling eyes from the duo. "If it doesn't work, we will come back for a refund!"
In his mind, Fangzheng thought, "#@[email protected]#%..."
After Yang Hua and Du Mei left, the mountain was quiet once more.
In the afternoon, three more people came. They were Dong Qingshan and two lads. They did not come to pay their respects to Buddha, but to bring two sacks of rice to Fangzheng under Tan Juguo's orders.
Fangzheng asked Dong Qingshan to pass on his thanks before sending the trio down.
Seeing the two sacks of rice in his courtyard, Fangzheng sighed and said, "Seriously, that old man... I had only casually mentioned that I haven't secured food for next year, and here he is, giving me two sacks of rice."
As Fangzheng spoke, he opened a bag of rice and looked inside. It was all new rice! Clearly, it was harvest from the paddies just this year...
He had lived in the village before, so he knew that they usually produced more rice than they could sell. So they had a portion that would be stored at home and a portion that was used for eating. And everyone typically could not finish the rice and had leftovers for the next year. When the new rice was harvested in that second year, everyone could not bear eating it. They continued eating the leftover rice and, as such, new rice would turn old. This meant they were eating old rice on a daily basis.
However, Fangzheng had been given new rice. Fangzheng naturally felt indebted.
He silently knelt in front of the Buddha statue and recited Buddhist scripture for Tan Juguo, Du Mei, and company, praying for their health.
Only then did he leave the hall to prepare lunch.
Having another four hundred bucks, together with the five hundred bucks from before, Fangzheng now had nine hundred bucks. He clenched his teeth and bought seven Crystal Rice seeds all at once, and planted them in the flower pots. The next day, seven catties of Crystal Rice were produced as expected.
Fangzheng poured the seven catties of Crystal Rice into the rice bucket and sealed it. When he made his meals, he rationed by using half a bowl of Crystal Rice and a bowl of ordinary rice. That way, even though it didn't taste as good as Crystal Rice on its own, it still tasted much better than ordinary rice. When he added in pickled vegetables and salted vegetables, Fangzheng felt like he was living in luxury! His thoughts of delicacies also waned...
Life on the mountain was extremely simple. Fangzheng would eat, clean the courtyard, tidy the temple hall, burn incense and recite Buddhist scripts daily. The peaceful days passed by quickly.
Soon, the month was almost over. Fangzheng stood under the bodhi tree and fell into a daze. It had been a month. Other than the few people at the beginning, only Lone Wolf came running helter-skelter. There was not another soul. The temple had been renovated but it still remained desolate...
"Sigh, it looks like this mission can't be completed," Fangzheng said with a bitter smile.
In the past month, Fangzheng had been eating Crystal Rice every meal. Although it wasn't all Crystal Rice, his body had visibly improved. His skin turned fairer and smoother. When he took off his shirt, his muscles were well-toned and filled with strength. When he wore the monk robes, his bald head gleamed.
By reading Buddhist scripture day in and day out, paying his daily respects to Buddha, and the quiet environment on the mountaintop, he had lost the worldly impetuousness from when he first came back to the mountain. His entire being increasingly resembled that of a Buddha. Just by standing there, his entire person effused a calm and peaceful aura...
Other than that, Fangzheng liked cleanliness. This trait could be seen from how he cleaned the temple hall spick and span every day. The fair and handsome young monk, with his calm and composed demeanor, was the image of tranquility as he stood under the green bodhi tree that was courting death. The scene resembled a ravishing picture.
The only flaw was his slightly tattered monk robes...
"System, is our temple efficacious or not?" Fangzheng was feeling bored one day and, when he recalled Du Mei and Yang Hua's plea, he knew their prayers might be answered after a month.
"The temple is the true being of eminence as a result of the System! Of course it is efficacious! As long as one is sincere, there is no such thing as poor efficacy! However, this temple only has a child-giving Guan Yin. So it can only be efficacious when asking for children. If one were to seek wealth, it would not work," said the System.
Fangzheng felt relieved when he heard the System's answer.
At the same time, a certain couple was at Songwu County's county hospital.
"How many times have I told you? Why can't you believe it? Just this year, you have come to our hospital for a checkup three times! The last time was about a month ago, right? It hasn't even been a month, and here you are again... How distrustful are you of our medical skills?" A young doctor felt helpless as he looked at the couple from the village.
"Doctor, it's different this time," Yang Hua said anxiously.
The doctor was left at a loss whether to laugh or cry. "When have you not said that? I'm telling you that if you want to get a checkup, I won't stop you. The money you are spending is yours. I'm stopping you out of good will. There is no need to spend this money, do you understand? Both of you have issues preventing your fertilization. This is an incurable problem, alright?"