Out of options, the foreman could only bring this matter up with Wang Yougui.
Wang Yougui laughed when he heard the foreman’s recount. “Bro, what are you thinking? We watched Venerable Fangzheng grow up. His character is impeccable and he’s definitely not as you describe him to be. There must be a reason why he is standing there. As long as he doesn’t cause you any trouble in your construction work, you shouldn’t need to worry about him.”
“It’s not that I’m worried. But with him standing there every day, it doesn’t stop the wagging of tongues despite both you and I saying that it’s nothing of importance. This construction site is almost turning into a Brokeback Mountain chat group,” grumbled the foreman.
“Fine, I’ll ask him about it. If there’s really something he needs to do, just ignore him on your side. If there’s nothing amiss, I’ll persuade him to return, deal?” Wang Yougui with a smiled.
“Deal! It’s settled! Bro, I’ll be waiting for good news.”
With a nod of his head, Wang Yougui left and went up the mountain. He met Fangzheng on the mountainside and smiled bitterly. “Abbot Fangzheng, what are you doing here?”
“Saving… someone?” Wang Yougui looked at his surroundings. There was no one here except for him and Fangzheng. He asked obligingly, “Save me?”
Fangzheng replied with a wry smile, “Amitabha. Patron, This Penniless Monk is truly here to save someone. As for who it is, all that can be said is that it’s a person of fate. Patron, if you wish to be saved by This Penniless Monk, This Penniless Monk would not mind.”
Wang Yougui rolled his eyes. “Kid, aren’t you cursing me? I don’t need you to save me. So you’re not going to move?”
Fangzhengs face turned serious. “Nope.”
“Alright, I’ve completed my mission. I’m leaving.” Wang Yougui knew Fangzheng very well. Once he made a decision, there was no way to persuade him. Since he was determined to stand there, it was pointless to say anything.
When the foreman saw how Wang Yougui returned unsuccessfully, he gave up and could not be bothered about Fangzheng. What everyone had to do would be done…
Liu Tao initially found it quite odd but he later realized that all Fangzheng did was stand there. He had no interest in coming up to harass him. Due to the mountain path, they could not even see each other. He heaved a sigh of relief and said in a self-deprecating manner, “I was overthinking things after all. He’s a monk and he doesn’t even want a relationship with a woman. How can an old man like me catch his eye?”
Liu Tao suddenly recalled Fangzheng’s words. Why was Fangzheng standing there? He said he wanted to save someone.
But who was he saving?
A person of fate?
Thinking back to the instance when they descended the mountain together, Fangzheng had kept close to him. Could he be the person of fate?
“Impossible. He’s only a monk. Don’t tell me he is clairvoyant? Besides, what can happen to me? I shouldn’t scare myself witless… That will cause actual problems while I work.” He was a man with an abundance of life experience after all. He thought things through and settled his mind. He did his job and did it well He did not believe he would encounter any danger.
Time passed. There was lightning on the third day as a heavy downpour forced the construction team to stop. Liu Tao noticed that the monk on the mountainside had disappeared. He heaved a sigh of relief. But he was more certain that Fangzheng was a cheat. Although he claimed to stood there to save someone, he had not saved anyone after standing there for all these days. Instead, he ran off once the storm came.
Liu Tao shook his head and mumbled. “This monk is seriously problematic.”
Rain come and went in the northeastern front. A strong wind could blow clouds to mountain only to send them of again with the next breeze, bringing lightning along with it. They were just like people from the northeast, ending with a cacophony…
As the weather cleared, everyone walked out of their construction tents in preparation to get back to work. Liu Tao subconsciously cupped his eyes to look over at Mt. One Finger. Indeed, a white figure was standing there by the mountainside. Same position, same pose.
“This guy sure is stubborn. If he has so much energy, why can’t he just recite his scriptures a few more times? Why must he act all mystical. It only sullies his reputation and who would believe him?” mumbled Liu Tao.
“Master, this monk sure is impressive. He’s adamant at the very least.” said Xie Ming.
Liu Tao shook his head. “Ignore him. It just rained. Let’s go up to take a look and gauge the situation. It would be dangerous if the storm caused a collapse or mudslide.”
“Alright,” replied Xie Ming as he called for Xiaolei. The trio went up the mountain.
Not long later, the trio saw Fangzheng standing by the side of the path.
Liu Tao looked at Fangzheng and said helplessly, “Venerable Fangzheng, there’s no one to save here. It’s best you return early.”
Xie Ming added, “That’s right. You stand here daily like it’s your duty. You come before we do and only leave once we are gone. What are you up to?”
Xiaolei echoed, “Venerable Fangzheng, it’s best you return.”
Fangzheng shook his head. “Patrons, don’t mind me, do as you must. This Penniless Monk will stay here.”
The trio sagged. Since he was untenable to advice, the trio continued up the mountain. The mountain path was narrow. It was obvious that the path could not fit the four of them. As the master, Liu Tao was responsible so he lead the way. Xie Ming and Xiaolei walked behind him and when Liu Tao brushed past Fangzheng…
The cracking sound of a boulder sounded before a rumbling sound. Liu Tao gasped in shock. He knew something bad had happened! He tried to push the monk out of the way but was astonished to discover that Fangzheng resisted his push stoically as if he was a boulder! Fangzheng raised his palm and struck.
With a loud bam, a boulder the size of two human heads split part under Fangzheng’s strike. It flew away and was sent down the cliff. The remaining gravel was sent flying by Fangzheng’s flick of his sleeves. The monk tidied his sleeves and pressed his palms together and gave a Buddhist proclamation. “Amitabha. Patrons, please do as you please.”
The man who was unmovable and stoic like the mountains turned and left his post.
Seeing Fangzheng about to vanish around the corner, the trio jolted to their senses as they exchanged looks and exclaimed simultaneously, “A man of god!”
“Is he even still human? He split a boulder that fell from such a great height and sent it flying!” Xiaolei had a look of amazement plastered across his face.
Xie Ming noticed clearly that Fangzheng had remained motionless. He only moved when the boulder fell. He was fast as lightning and did not panic. It was as though everything was within expectations. The strike felt like it was delivered by a carefree immortal but he could swear that the effect was that of the most ferocious man he had ever seen in his life.
The most astounded person was Liu Tao. He did not see Fangzheng’s strike clearly but he knew he would have died if it was not for the monk!
Thinking back to his questioning of what Fangzheng was doing and his response was about saving someone, a person of fate.
Thinking back to the situation when Fangzheng sent them down the mountain, it was definitely not about Fangzheng having any interest in him. He was protecting him the entire way down the mountain!
Upon coming to this conclusion, Liu Tao finally understood the ins and outs of the story. The monk was no ordinary person. He had seen the calamity that would be befalling him. He had followed him the entire time and even stood there for days without even a word of complaint! Liu Tao felt immense gratitude rise up within. By doing him the favor of saving his life, it was the equivalent of granting him a new life. How could he not repay such a debt?