“It’s because he is a respectable person,” replied Fangzheng.
“Tch, who else in this world should be respected except your own self?” Red Boy disapproved of it before asking, “Master, do you know where the hospital is?”
Fangzheng had a blank look. That’s right. Where was the hospital? That was truly a problem!
“Master, it looks like we need to sit down and think carefully about it. I caught a whiff of some of the pleasant smells the surrounding stores are giving off. Why don’t we have a rest?” Red Boy looked at the large signboard hung across the street. It depicted a wok and a huge goose. Immediately, he began salivating.
Fangzheng shot a glance at the good-for-nothing child and shook his head, walking outside.
“Those stores require money. Your master is penniless. How can you be fed?” Fangzheng was speaking the truth. He had quite a bit of money, but it was all incense money, not something that could be spent. He was still poverty-stricken.
“Money, hmm. Could gold and silver work?” asked Red Boy immediately.
Fangzheng was taken aback, “You have money?”
Red Boy raised his tiny arm, “Look at the golden bangle on my hand. It should be worth some money, right?”
Fangzheng rolled his eyes. The little guy was up to his little tricks again. Was that a golden bangle? That was a golden circlet, part of a set that the Monkey King, Sun Wukong, wore on his head. Guan Yin Bodhisattva had the three hexes that would tighten the circlets. The ciclets were handed out to Sun Wukong, Red Boy, and the Black Bear Spirit. This was also the method Fangzheng used to restrain Red Boy. If it was taken off, even if he didn’t kill Fangzheng, his character was enough to cause mayhem in the world.
Fangzheng raised his hand and struck down. Despite the ringing dull thud, Red Boy remained unharmed. Fangzheng was somewhat helpless regarding this. His Great Strength Vajra Palm also seemed insufficient. However, he continued berating, “Do you think This Penniless Monk isn’t aware what this is? Wipe away those thoughts of yours. Accompany me and watch the world. If you perform well, you will gain your freedom again. If not, sigh. You can spend the rest of your life here with me, your master.”
“What? I can’t return if I can’t gain enlightenment?” Red Boy turned anxious.
Fangzheng shot a glance at Red Boy, “Do you think you are the only one feeling anxious? This Penniless Monk wants to renounce asceticism too”
“Uh Master, you must be kidding, right? You want to renounce asceticism? If you really want to do so, do it now. After you do so, we can go rule over a mountain and call ourselves kings. I’ll get you whatever beautiful babes you want. You name it, you get it. You can eat all sorts of delicacies!” Red Boy immediately turned spirited.
But in response, Fangzheng rolled his eyes at him, “If it was that easy to renounce asceticism, This Penniless Monk would have done so. Is there a need for your advice? This Penniless Monk’s future is much harder than yours.”
“How hard is it? I can’t return if I do not gain enlightenment, what about you?” Red Boy did not believe Fangzheng was in a worse state than he was.
In response, Fangzheng looked up into the sky and gave a long sigh. “I can’t renounce asceticism unless I become Buddha.” With that said, tears were pouring down his face.
Red Boy jumped up and patted Fangzheng on the shoulder, saying with a tone of pity, “Amitabha. I still have some hope, but you can forget accomplishing it in this life of yours.”
“Master, you don’t even want to become Buddha, yet you want to redeem me? Can you?” asked Red Boy.
“Redeem you? Why should This Penniless Monk redeem you?”
Red Boy was stunned, “Aren’t you restraining me because you want to redeem me?”
“It was made known to you early on. This Penniless Monk is not interested in redeeming you or making you Buddha. You are restrained to prevent you from causing trouble. As for reasoning with you and letting you see the world, it’s to let you watch and listen. Whatever you figure out is up to you. Everyone has their own soul and their own character. If you were forcefully redeemed, what difference would this be from fiendish demons eating humans? Of course, This Penniless Monk does not know how others do it. Anyways, both of us are in the same boat. This Penniless Monk will not go as far as forcing you to become an esteem monk.” Fangzheng said what he truly believed in. The System’s redemption of him was the same way. What he was forcibly restrained in were some truly trashy actions of his, scolding and cursing for instance. Profanity was considered a trashy act regardless of which kind of person engaged in it, esteemed monk or not.
As the saying goes, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Fangzheng did not like being supervised or be changed too drastically. He naturally did not wish to employ such methods on Red Boy.
Red Boy curled his lips but did not say a word. After some time, he said, “Master, about that Where should we go?”
“My master said before that one has a mouth under one’s nose. Directions can be asked, so if we can’t find a place, we just need to ask.”
However, Fangzheng did not say a word despite walking all day. Red Boy could not help but ask, “Master, why isn’t the mouth under your nose asking for directions?”
Fangzheng blushed as he looked at the people around him. It was not that he did not wish to ask, but he was too embarrassed to do so when everyone was wearing mini-skirts, showcasing their long legs! When he finally saw a man, he looked like he was in a rush. Fangzheng was thin-skinned. Despite saying it was easy to ask for directions, he was unable to open his mouth when push came to shove. He constantly told himself that he would do it with the next person, but he kept dragging his feet.
“Master, don’t tell me you are too embarrassed to ask?” Red Boy looked at Fangzheng, prepared to see him make a fool of himself.
Made a joke of by his disciple? How could he allow that? Hence, Fangzheng clenched his teeth and went to a woman standing outside a store. Before Fangzheng could even say a word, the woman laughed out first, “Master, are you here to wash your hair? We are a proper store. We provide the whole range of hair-washing services. We can guarantee you the greatest comfort.”
Fangzheng’s face blushed red. The woman had leaned forward and bent her back slightly. At that instant, Fangzheng only had one thoughtClose the door! Release Red Boy! Smack the demoness to death!
Upon seeing Fangzheng blush, the woman was delighted. It was the first time she was seeing a man blush so easily. Although he was a monk “Master, I almost forgot. You don’t seem to have hair.”
Fangzheng knew that he was being teased. He pressed his palms together and gave a Buddhist proclamation, “Amitabha. Patron, in what direction is Central Provincial Hospital?”
“Oh, you came to ask for directions. Just walk straight down this road. After three intersections, turn right until you reach the next intersection. It will be on the left. Master, are you sure you do not want to try out our head massage?” After the woman said that, she immediately began teasing Fangzheng. There was no other reason. Having been accustomed to seeing the old perverts in the city, the sudden appearance of an inexperienced lad was like a middle-aged man seeing a young lass. How could she resist teasing him?
Fangzheng smiled wryly, “Amitabha. Thank you for your kind intentions, Patron. This Penniless Monk is in a rush and shall leave first.”
With that said, Fangzheng quickly dragged Red Boy, who was still studying what sort of store it was, away.
“Master, are you leaving just like that? I haven’t seen enough. Speaking of which, it’s just the washing of hair. Why do you need to pay for that?” Red Boy asked out of curiosity.
“They are a hair salon. Professionals. So they can make nice hairstyles.”
“Then, can they give me a pretty hairstyle?” asked Red Boy.
“You? This Penniless Monk will do it for you in a while.”
“Are you professional as well?”
“Then, what sort of hairstyle can you give me?”
“Just like mine!”
Red Boy: “”