Shi Xiaozhu’s eyes lit up but eventually, he shook his head “I agree to venture out and learn new abilities but as for you investing? That wouldn’t do. It would be meaningless. I want to try to see what I can achieve through my own hard work.”
“Deal! I’ll do as you say. Let’s go and have some drinks!” Shi Dazhu was overjoyed. His son that resembled still water had finally thought things through. He was delighted at the transformation.
Shi Dazhu also knew that with his son’s personality, he would likely get turned down by many employers and suffer failures if he ventured alone. Entrepreneurship? Learning of new abilities? It was easier said than done. Eventually, he might still need to lend some of his capital. However, as a parent, he definitely held hope of a possible success. At the very least, he had come out of his shadow. He was a living person and not dull wooden block. Just the thought alone satisfied Shi Dazhu… Besides, he had other plans. As long as Shi Xiaozhu was willing to work hard, it was not necessarily true that he would be without success.
Fangzheng was unaware of the ripples he had caused in the Shi family household.
This was because as the days passed, the promotions of City-Toppling Beauty gradually waned. One Finger Monastery’s popularity also gradually diminished. The visitors that came returned to their normal variety. They would not grab him or Monkey to take photos. Nor were there parents that brought their children to One Finger Monastery to watch the small zoo he was creating…
The visitors began to decrease but it was a stable. There would be about five to six people a day, reaching as high as twenty at times. They were true devotees. They would offer incense and pray, occasionally asking Fangzheng a few questions and listening to Fangzheng strike the wooden fish and recite scripture. One Finger Monastery was once again restored to its harmony and tranquility.
The tranquility would not last.
After the government disbursed the funds, the construction team entered the village. Its main task was to widen the village roads of One Finger Village. Simultaneously, Tan Juguo gave Shi Dazhu a call. Shi Dazhu did not go back on his word and promised to settle the stone problem.
Indeed, all sorts of stone was delivered that day. They stone that Shi Dazhuhad lying around. They had been there for years. It was not easy to sell these particular stones and they occupied valuable space. It was perfect to use as a favor.
The government’s funds were not very large and did not have plans to begin repairing the mountain path. But since the problem with the materials had been resolved, the only thing left was labor. That was easily settled. The county came to an impromptu decision to mend everything while they were at it.
Therefore, the construction team diverted three workers to Mt. One Finger to study the topography. The three traveled up and down the mountain several times but never actually reached the mountaintop.
Until one day they did reach said mountain top.
Xie Ming cupped his eyes to look at the distant monastery. He was perplexed, “The government sure is rich. Although the scenery up here is pretty good, this place is tiny. Even if there’s an increase in the number of visitors, it will only be a minor scenic spot. They even invested to mend the roads of such a place?”
“Did you not read the news?City-Toppling Beautyfilmed here. Once it screens, this place will become popular. Besides, there a monastery on this mountain. If the advertising is good, there shouldn’t be a problem with them having some profit,” said another middle-aged man.
“Master, I understand everything you just said. I just can’t tell what the point of investing is here,” Xie Ming scratched his chin.
“I heard that this monastery is rather efficacious. The villagers at the foot of the mountain say that all the childless couples succeeded in having their children after praying here. I wonder if they were lying…” said the middle-aged Liu Tao.
“These farmers eat vegetables and farm every day. They only suffer from fatigue at most, so how is it possible that they cannot conceive? Wouldn’t it work once they prayed? Why didn’t they pray for riches? If they strike it rich after praying, that will be true efficacy.” Xie Ming refused to have his beliefs shakened. He had seen many monasteries over his years of mending roads. He neither believed nor denied Buddhism. He would just go through the motions if he encountered one. He did not feel like he lacked anything faith wise, because he did not believe in Buddhism. He would obtain anything he deserved if he was willing to put in the effort.
“All you know is money. If you are a Buddhist, go in and offer some incense. If you’re not, don’t worry about it. Quickly get to work and once we are done, we can have a meal at the foot of the mountain,” rebuked Liu Tao jokingly.
Xie Ming chuckled and got to work.
Fangzheng had received Wang Yougui’s call a little while ago. He knew that the government had disbursed the funds and the construction team had begun working. However, he never expected to see members of the construction team on the mountain early in the morning. Fangzheng had no intention to watch the buzz. He planned on returning to read the scriptures and kill time.
By habit, he opened his Heavenly Eye to sweep the trio. When he saw Liu Tao, the scene before Fangzheng’s Heavenly Eye changed!
At the mountainside, Liu Tao lowered his head to measure something. At that moment, there was a loud boom above him. A huge boulder smashed into Liu Tao’s safety helmet, shattering it. His head was covered in blood as he collapsed to the ground, his survival was questionable.
The scene restored to normal. Fangzheng was taken aback. He never expected that after so long and after seeing so many people, he would encounter someone about to face calamity. But a problem reared its head. He instantly identified the spot where the accident would happen. But he did not know when it would happen. All he knew was that it was in the day and in the coming week… What was he to do?
Fangzheng glanced at the trio miserably. He sighed and returned to the monastery.
“Master, that young monk kept staring at you,” said Xie Ming.
Liu Tao frowned. “He’s probably never seen construction workers. That’s normal. Back when I repaired the roads in the distant rural areas, I attracted quite a crowd. Little Lei, how’s it on your side?”
“It’s okay. Everything is checked. It shouldn’t be a problem getting down to work tomorrow.” A young lad made the all clear sign with his hand. His name was Lei Xiangjie.
“Always good that there won’t be any problems. Let’s head down the mountain.” Liu Tao beckoned for Xie Ming to leave after saying so.
At that moment, a Buddhist proclamation sounded from behind them. “Amitabha, Patrons, This Penniless Monk is One Finger Monastery’s abbot, with Fangzheng as his Dharma name. Might I ask when you plan on beginning the work to repair the mountain?
“Abbot, you are being too polite. If everything goes to plan, we can begin tomorrow. We have seen the mountain paths several times. They are actually not that bad.” Liu Tao bowed respectfully.
Fangzheng blinked in astonishment, “You begin tomorrow?” Fangzheng originally thought that it would take a few more days. If they came on the sixth of seventh day, he could determine the time of the incident. But from the looks of it, it was going to be more difficult.
“What about it? Abbot, do you not wish for us to begin just yet?” Xie ming frowned, slightly agitated. Repairing the roads was a good deed but the young monk looked at him as if he was doing something wrong. Did he not know what was good for him?
Fangzheng shook his head. “Of course not. Since you begin your work tomorrow, This Penniless Monk shall not disturb you any further. Actually…This Penniless Monk plans on going down the mountain. Let’s travel together.”