However, as the boars back then suffered from deaths and injuries, they also learned to be afraid when hearing gunshots, running off in the process. Therefore, the villagers would employ sparrow warfare. They would throw live firecrackers into buckets, hit gongs and shout, lighting up fire torches at the same time. This typically could stop the attacks of the boars.
But later, firearms were banned across the country. Be it self-made or anything else, they were repossessed. Without guns in the village, the boars immediately became abhorrent. They were a little afraid against the firecrackers, fire torches, gongs, and scare crows in the beginning but later on, they realized that those did them no harm. Once they got used to the strategies in place, the herd of boars would treat the foot of the mountain as their own grain warehouse. They came in spring, summer and autumn, causing great destruction and distress to the locals.
Therefore, people began setting up traps and using poison to deal with the boars.
But later, the wild boars were stipulated as protected animals. If one wanted to hunt them? That could be done, but a request had to be made. And after obtaining a hunting license, one could hunt only a limited number of boars. Furthermore, this license was typically difficult to obtain. Getting a few of them was utterly inadequate towards the massive board herd.
Most importantly, the boars did not have any natural predators, and they were very reproductive. Their reproductive rate far exceeded the imaginations of the people.
Every spring, the boars that had survived the harsh winter in the mountains would collectively descend the mountain after having starved for a long time. This meant that trouble would befall the villagers, with large swaths of farmland coming at risk. The saplings would have just grown out and had yet to produce grain, but the boars would ignore them. They would storm across them like they were ploughing the land.
Every year, there would be people injured because of the wild boars. There were even fatalities in earlier years.
Now, people were truly helpless against the boars. The striking of the gongs and the releasing of firecrackers were only actions that had their outcomes left to fate. People could only watch helplessly and sadly as the boars caused destruction to their compounds.
“Abbot, I see the shadows of the boars,” said Lone Wolf as he licked his tongue across his mouth. The moment he thought of boars, he would think of their fat asses. Those were filled with meat! The only problem was that their hide was thicker, making it difficult to bite through them.
Fangzheng sighed, “These beasts have caused a lot of harm to the villagers over the years. Let’s go down and take a look.”
Fangzheng did not have any abilities in the past, but he did now. He naturally was not going to sit idly by the side and ignore the situation. The problem was how he was to help. Take action to kill all the boars? Or should he negotiate with them? But with their pig brains, would he be able to communicate with them?
As he briskly ran down the mountain, the boar horde had already retreated, leaving behind two unlucky ones who had been tied up in rope. A few villagers had captured them alive.
Wang Yougui and Tan Juguo stood by the side in dismay. Yang Ping was going around, calculating the damages.
“Patrons, the boars came again?” asked Fangzheng when he ran over.
Wang Yougui sighed, “That’s right. They are here again. They wreak havoc around this time every year. This is the first wave for the year. There will be more in the future. Sigh. The people that were allocated this piece of land sure were unlucky.”
Tan Juguo added, “There’s nothing we can do. All we can do is apply for a permit to kill them. Only the spilling of blood can stop these gluttons. If not, all other methods are useless!”
“It will be difficult. It’s not only our village. Several villages have suffered the wrath of the boars. They have all applied for license permits. The higher-ups are also having a headache. If they give out too many, there will be some who will try to profit from secret hunting. If they give too few, it would not be effective,” said Wang Yougui.
“Regardless, having fought these boars our entire lives, we know that only the spilling of blood is effective,” said Tan Juguo.
Fangzheng gave a Buddhist proclamation when he listened to the duo’s conversation. Without saying a word, he walked around and saw people wailing in their fields. The time they had spent, watching over the water pumps, drawing water for irrigation, growing and transplanting the rice seedlings, their utility and tentage costs, etc. had all been spent on their crops, hoping for a good harvest in the following year so as to lead better lives. But with the herd of boars coming, all of that was over. Who wouldn’t be sad over shattered hopes of the future?
Fangzheng walked over, reciting ‘Amitabha’ the entire way. When no one was paying him any attention, he circled around Mt. One Finger and entered the Mt. Tongtian range.
Just as Wang Yougui had said, the Frost Bamboo roots had reached the foot of the mountain. Furthermore, they were growing in Mt. Tongtian’s periphery too. However, the Frost Bamboo here was clearly poorer in quality, which resulted in much poorer sales. Fangzheng even suspected if these growths would manage to last the test of the harsh winter.
“Jingfa, I’ll leave it to you. Seek out the herd of boars,” said Fangzheng sternly after he took in a deep breath.
Lone Wolf immediately replied, “Don’t worry, Master.” Lone Wolf took a sniff of the surrounding air and grinned, “These darn pigs stink. They are also all gathered together. I can smell the stink from their bodies miles away. Master, follow me!”
With that said, Lone Wolf began running.
Fangzheng said with a wry smile, “Run slower. This Penniless Monk isn’t able to chase up to you all the time.”
Lone Wolf helplessly ran slower. Beside him, Red Boy said, “Master, return me my divine powers. Wouldn’t it be done if I fly you there? A herd of boars is nothing. I can resolve this problem in a second!”
Fangzheng was quite enticed by the offer. Red Boy was a great demon king, and he was best at communicating with mountain demons and monsters. Although the boars were not supernatural beings, they were probably of the same species?
However, Fangzheng did not agree to Red Boy’s proposal. He ran silently. After running for more than two hours, Fangzheng traversed across a hilltop and entered a flat mountainous region. Indeed, he saw a bunch of black things sprawled on the ground. With the moonlight, he looked carefully and realized that they were all boars! These beasts were frolicking in mud while there were others sprawled on the grass beside. Some had burrowed into a cave.
“Master, what do we do now?” asked Lone Wolf.
“Stay here. I’ll take a look. It’s best if they can be convinced. If that doesn’t work, we’ll think of something again.”
Fangzheng was a monk after all. Slaughtering would only increase his negative karma and decrease his merit. Fangzheng could not bear to part with his tiny bit of merit.
Lone Wolf, Squirrel, Monkey, and Red Boy stood far away watching. Red Boy said, “It’s just a herd of boars. Even if I do not use my divine powers, I can easily finish them.”
“Junior Brother, you are impressive. I’ll tell Master when he returns. Junior Brother can settle them!” Squirrel looked naively at Red Boy.
Red Boy’s face immediately flushed red as he moaned, “I think it’s better not to say that. If Master can’t resolve the problem but I can, wouldn’t that imply that Master is very weak?”
Squirrel did not think much and nodded, “Right, that’s no good.”
Red Boy secretly heaved a sigh of relief. If he were really sent to deal with the matter, death was certainly out of the question, but how was he to fight so many boars with their thick hide and fleshy meat? That was not an easy task. There were about a hundred of them! Typically, the danger found in mountain forests were boars, bears, and tigers. It was the most terrifying thing to meet boars in the forest. Not only did they have thick hides and fleshy meat which resulted in strong attacks, these retarded-looking beasts were actually quite clever!