“Clang! Clang! Clang…” Red Boy wielded chopsticks as he quickly finished a big bowl of Crystal Rice. He then placed it on the table and shouted, “Another!”
Fangzheng, Monkey, Lone Wolf, and Squirrel stared at Red Boy with widened eyes. If they had not made a mistake while counting, the fellow had already eaten eighteen bowls! Fangzheng returned to look at his rice bucket and felt his heart drop. He originally believed that Lone Wolf was a big eater but now, Red Boy was even worse. He was practically a bottomless hole!
“Master, you will let your disciple have his fill, right?” Red Boy said with a grin. He had a demonic body and ever since he went to the South Sea, he survived the tribulations to become an immortal-like existence. Eating and digesting food was a piece of cake for him. With his divine powers, all his food could be burned clean with his True Samadhi Fire. How could he suffer from being too stuffed? Red Boy had decided on bankrupting the darn baldy with his appetite first. It was best if the darn baldy took the initiative to get him to leave. It would save him trouble.
Fangzheng looked at Red Boy’s provocative glance, his eyebrows pricked up. He smiled. “That’s natural. Even if This Penniless Monk has to sell everything, as my disciple, you will be satiated. How much more can you eat? This Penniless Monk will make it for you!”
“Haha… Master, you’re such a great monk.” Red Boy smirked. “Let’s have another pot, to get the stomach juices going.”
Squirrel rolled his eyes and fainted.
Lone Wolf glared at Red Boy angrily. Did he not know Crystal Rice was extremely expensive? His request was for a pot full? It was just… too much! That was his food! If all of that was finished, what would be left for him to eat?
Monkey also became anxious. Unfortunately, he was no match for the powerful child. However, there was something he did not understand. Why would the rather clever abbot suddenly start acting like an idiot?
“You can eat as much as you wish, but, One Finger Monastery has a rule. Food must not be wasted. If you want a pot, This Penniless Monk will make you a pot. You have to finish your meal. If you do not…”
“I’m willing to be punished if I can’t finish it. I will do anything Master says.” Red Boy answered confidently. He was not the least bit afraid of betting with Fangzheng. He could eat a mountain of rice should he so wish, much less a pot. All he needed was his fire to burn his stomach clean.
Fangzheng nodded as he started a fire to make the rice.
Red Boy came over with a teasing look. “Master, do you need any help?” He had only said so in passing to tease Fangzheng.
To his surprise, Fangzheng answered in all seriousness, “It’s good that a disciple is so understanding towards his master. In that case, you make the rice. In the future, you will be in charge of One Finger Monastery’s meals. Yes… This will be your job from now on!”
Red Boy nearly spat a mouthful of blood. He was the mighty Boy Sage King, Child of Wealth, and an even more impressive scion before he became a monk! After he became a monk, he had been someone important, with plentiful wealth and power. Yet, here he was employed as a mere kitchen monk? Worst of all, Fangzheng had left the moment right after his statement. He clearly left everything to him, whether he agreed to it or not!
Red Boy growled through clenched teeth, “Wait and see! I’ll stab you sooner or later! I’ll first make your heart ache, I will show you the true meaning of despair! Hmph! Crystal Rice is something only Mount Numinous has. How much can there be in the mortal world? I’ll eat till your heart aches, as much as needed till you vomit blood!”
With a terse response, Red Boy began preparing the rice in misery. It was not that difficult cooking Crystal Rice. Although Red Boy led a comfortable life, Fangzheng had already lit the fire, with the rice and water already mixed together. All he needed to do was add the appropriate amount of timber and wait till he needed to open the pot’s lid.
With the passage of time, the Crystal Rice fragrance became denser. Outside, the stomachs of Lone Wolf, Squirrel, Monkey and even Fangzheng began to groan. Red Boy had eaten so fast that the rest of them only had time to eat a single bowl. It was not nearly enough to satiate them.
Lone Wolf, Monkey, and Squirrel stared at Fangzheng with large watery eyes. It was obvious what they meant: Could they eat without the demon child later?
Fangzheng smiled but did not say a word. The three animals were left puzzled, unsure what the abbot was up to. Did humans and animals get treated differently? Humans should be satiated but animals had to starve?
Just as the three animals were feeling peeved, Red Boy removed the pot’s lid. The aromatic fragrance of the Crystal Rice spread, causing rumbling noises.
Red Boy grinned when he heard them. He jumped onto the stove and took a deep breath before dragging out his sentence. “Heh heh… As expected of the Crystal Rice from Mount Numinous. It tastes pretty good. Haha!”
Lone Wolf, Monkey, and Squirrel collectively turned their eyes onto Fangzheng. They were really hungry!
Fangzheng remained unmoved. Instead, he said to Red Boy, “My dear disciple, since you like it so much, quickly finish eating the entire potful. This Penniless Monk wants to see how you finish all the Crystal Rice. If you can’t, you might not be able to sleep tonight. This Penniless Monk will gift you a huge amount of scriptures!”
Red Boy trembled in shock. However, he refused to feel fear for he was certain of victory! A simple pot of Crystal Rice was nothing!
He exclaimed, “Master, as long as you don’t blame me for eating too much, this pot alone is not nearly enough.”
“It’s alright. If this pot is not enough, there’s more in the bucket. You will have your fill,” said Fangzheng with a chuckle. He had a smile akin to a master caring for his disciple.
“That’s great, I’ll be digging in! Master, I’ll show you what I’m capable of. Rice, come!”
Red Boy waved his hand in preparation to cast his divine powers. He wanted to raise all the Crystal Rice into the air before swallowing them all in one mouth! He wanted to let the darn baldy know how powerful he was! He wanted to make the annoying monk feel the pinch till he vomited blood, so much so that he would kneel down and plead for mercy!
Red Boy could almost see the scene play out in front of his eyes. He felt exceptionally pleased. “Guan Yin Bodhisattva, you want such a young monk to redeem me, a king?! Hmph! It’s more likely the king will be redeeming him for you!”
Red Boy quickly realized something amiss. Despite having beckoned for some time, the Crystal Rice had not appeared out of the pot!
“Eh? What’s happening?” Red Boy was taken aback.
Fangzheng chuckled. “My dear disciple. Quickly, show what you are capable of. Your master has never seen any divine powers. It’s time to widen my horizons.”
Red Boy’s face blushed red as he darted a glance and saw Fangzheng smiling in an extremely relaxed fashion. It seemed he had not seen through the failure of his spells. He heaved a sigh of relief. “I haven’t cast my spells. I’ll begin now. Crystal Rice, rise!”
Red Boy used all his strength but immediately realized something was wrong. His body felt empty, all his Dharmic powers were gone! Without the support of Dharmic powers, how was he to cast a divine power? Red Boy repeatedly tried a few gestures for beckoning the rice but the Crystal Rice remained motionless.
Fangzheng burst out in joy inwardly. Although he did not understand what Red Boy was capable of, he knew one thing. In Journey to the West, Sun Wukong and Piggy all needed to eat. They would be awfully hungry if they didn’t eat. If all of they were big eaters, Tripiaka would probably have to sell his pants to afford his disciples’ meals, much less talk about journeying to the west to collect the scriptures. It was obviously abnormal for Red Boy to eat that much. Although Fangzheng could not understand what he had done, it did not matter. With Red Boy’s divine powers sealed, Fangzheng wanted to see what tricks Red Boy was still capable of.