And so sitting under the bodhi tree, Fangzheng was accompanying Red Boy.
Red Boy was taken aback. Fangzheng was making sure that he finished the rock!
But he was helpless against it. He could only bite the bullet and sit opposite Fangzheng. Fangzheng did not speak. All he did was look at the moon while sitting under the bodhi tree.
Red Boy looked up as well, his mind whirling as fast as it could. He pondered for a solution to extricate himself from his predicament.
“Jingxin, are Chang’e and the Jade Rabbit really on the moon?” asked Fangzheng suddenly.
“Is that so? Have you seen them?”
“No, but I’ve heard of them.”
“I’ve heard of them too. Don’t stop eating. It will be terrible if you end up starving.”
Red Boy bit down with tears welling in his eyes. Nom. Nom. Nom.
“Jingxin, what’s the world you are from like?”
“Tall mountains, wide bodies of water, demons everywhere with deities seen all the time and Buddhas being nothing but dogs.” Red Boy sullied Buddha before realizing he had said it out loud. He saw Fangzheng smiling at him.
Fangzheng said with a smile, “My dear disciple, quick eat. Eat more.”
Red Boy looked at Fangzheng before looking at the rock. He suddenly realized that the bastard knew all along that he had been planning on using the rock to hit him. He was obviously trying to pull a fast one on him!
But so what if he knew? Red Boy did not dare expose Fangzheng’s reason. If he did, it would no longer be as simple as eating rocks. Hence, he continued to eat while holding back his tears. He was even forced by Fangzheng to eat another two mouthfuls.
“My dear disciple, apparently you were taken away by Guan Yin Bodhisattva a long time ago. Why hasn’t Bodhisattva taught you anything despite all this time?”
“Master, you are overthinking things. Bodhisattva did not bring me back to the South Sea for long, about a thousand years. That is true. But she typically enters meditation for a thousand years. How would she have the time for me?” said Red Boy with his lips curled.
Fangzheng was taken aback. Indeed, mortals would never understand the world of deities. He asked out of curiosity, “What kind of person is Bodhisattva?”
Red Boy immediately turned spirited. His eyes darted around as he said, “He’s powerful, tall and muscular. His chest muscles are especially well-developed. He has a full beard and big eyes-”
Fangzheng had a dark cloud over his head when he heard that. He pulled over a boulder used for sitting and placed it down in front of Red Boy with a thud.
Red Boy was taken aback. “Master, what’s this for? I already have a seat.”
Fangzheng smiled, “It’s nothing. It’s just that you have quite an appetite, so that snack will probably not fill you. Here’s more food for you.”
Red Boy looked at Fangzheng before looking at the boulder. He coughed dryly, “Master, actually Bodhisattva is a very warm person, as warm as sunshine. Having a very benevolent smile, gentle, dignified, generous, and very genuine, leaving people awed.”
Only then did Fangzheng said with satisfaction, “You spoke well, but you went off-topic. Have a snack.”
Red Boy said with a sobbing tone, “Master, I’m full. Can we slowly eat it tomorrow?”
“Sure, This Penniless Monk will be reciting the scriptures.” Fangzheng casually stood up as he felt the pants by his legs tighten. He looked down and saw Red Boy tugging at them. He said pitifully, “Master, I know I was wrong. I’ll definitely not do such acts of transgression again. Please spare me.”
Fangzheng chuckled. He was really prepared to recite the scriptures, but he never expected to gain something out of it. He nodded, “Since you are so sincere, finish the snack in your hand and sleep early.”
Once Red Boy heard that, he lifted the rock and finished it in no time. He munched and wiped his mouth before running off. He finally realized that a head-on battle with Fangzheng only led to misery for him. He had to rethink his plans.
Just as Fangzheng was about to enter the temple hall, he subconsciously took out his cell phone to give it a look. The phone rang coincidentally, and it was still from that child.
Fangzheng thought for a moment before picking it up.
“Hey, is that daddy?” The boy’s voice had an anticipating ring to it.
Fangzheng said with a smile, “That’s right.”
“Wah! It’s really daddy! Mommy, Mommy, Mommy! I got through to daddy’s number! Daddy is on the other end of the line! I knew it. Hehe!” The boy’s voice was filled with limitless excitement. Fangzheng could sense his joy through the phone. Fangzheng suddenly realized at that instant that the lie was worth it.
“Oh?” a groggy voice sounded. Clearly, the boy’s mother had just fallen asleep.
“Mommy, I got through to daddy’s number. Daddy, are you still there? I’m so happy! When will you come back? I miss you so much. Mommy says that you are busy catching baddies at work,” the boy’s mouth rattled on like a machine gun as he said a lot.
Fangzheng also heard some useful information. He replied, “I’m still here.”
“Mommy, Daddy is still on the line. Do you want to talk to him? Forget it! I’m not giving you. I’ll chat with Daddy! It’s been so long since I chatted with Daddy.” The boy was extremely excited. Then, he hugged the phone and hid under his blanket to continue chatting.
Fangzheng realized that the boy did not need him to say anything. All he needed to do was be a listener, occasionally replying with a terse comment or reply to encourage him, and the boy would be very happy.
At the same time, in a sick ward in Spring City People’s Hospital, a haggard woman sat on a wheelchair. She smiled when she saw the smiling boy, but she was a little worried. She chose not to do anything. She sat there, watching the boy excitedly describe things he had described to her countless times. All these years, this was the first time she was seeing him so happy.
Fangzheng gradually gained an understanding of the child through his words. The child was sick and hospitalized. He had gotten his mother to give him his father’s number by threatening not to eat his medicine. Later on, he would steal her cell phone to make a call whenever she wasn’t paying attention. Unfortunately, Fangzheng never acknowledged him, disappointing the little guy.
He clearly held no grudges. He never asked about Fangzheng’s denial. He was clearly very excited, telling Fangzheng stories of his family and the people beside him.
“Daddy, let me ask you. We haven’t spoken on the phone for three years. Don’t you miss me? Also, many policemen came to my house three years ago. I don’t know why, but Mommy was crying very sadly that day. Later on, Mommy’s legs stopped working. I have no idea why either,” said the boy.
Fangzheng was taken aback. Many policemen went to their house? His mother was sad? Her legs were invalid? Was this a child of a criminal? Was his father captured? Was his mother paralyzed due to her anger?
The child continued, “Daddy, where are you? I miss you. I don’t want to eat cabbage all day. I want to eat meat.”