However, Huang Ren shook his head vehemently, “Impossible, Brother Chen would not lie to me. They must exist if he said so!”
“Sigh.” The other party was rendered helpless as well.
Finally, everything returned to the beginning with Huang Ren still a recruit.
“Amitabha.” Fangzheng understood everything when he saw this. The life of two elders, one protecting the other, while the other sought to repay him his entire life!
This was a promise between two comrades, two men, two brothers!
But eventually, Chen Dashan had deceived Huang Ren. Yet, Huang Ren stubbornly continued searching for Dawn Village that had never existed. It was not because he was foolish but that he never wanted to give up his promise towards Chen Dashan, even if the hopes of finding anything was zero. This was an obsession that was close to foolishness.
“Master, they are all fools,” Red Boy cursed again but his eyes were a little moist. He did not care about the lives of a person regardless who it was. As a great demon king, he believed in the law of the jungle, survival of the fittest. Death of people did not matter. However, what Chen Dashan, Huang Ren, and their comrades-in-arms had displayed was something beyond the law of the jungle. It was something that eluded him. It was even diametrically opposed to the law of the jungle. It appeared foolish, so foolish that he wanted to curse! But the thought left his heart wincing. An unprecedented emotion arose in him. It was very uncomfortable, something that left his eyes stinging.
Fangzheng ignored Red Boy and came in front of Huang Ren. He bent his back slightly and whispered, “Huang Ren, attention!”
When Huang Ren heard that, his eyes immediately lit up. His dilated pupils constricted once more as though he could hear the order for assembly, as though he was hearing the drills from a long time ago. One, two, one! One, two, one!
Huang Ren looked carefully and saw a person in front of him. He stood up straight and appeared like a towering mountain. He looked a little dull, as his eyes exuded a warmth. He was none other than Chen Dashan!
“Brother Dashan” Huang Ren had suffered from dementia for many years and this was the first time he precisely enunciated the two words.
The person in front of him was naturally not Chen Dashan but Fangzheng. Fangzheng had used A Golden Millet Dream to let the elder see Chen Dashan once again. There was no other solution. Chen Dashan had no family, so how could a family member be found? With Huang Ren’s character, he would probably continue searching to his death and finally depart the world with regret.
“Huang Ren, did you really not find my family?”
Huang Ren immediately cried when he heard that as he bawled, speaking with great difficulty, “I let you down! I didn’t find them! Sob”
An elder with tears streaming down his face instantly became a sobbing mess!
And this scene was something that Huang Xinghua and Huang Zhenhua could not see. They had also been sent into a dream by Fangzheng, with them only being able to see Fangzheng standing there in a daze. The duo was quite curious what the monk was doing.
“Alright, stop crying. Think again. Did you really not find my family?” asked Fangzheng.
Huang Ren was stunned as he looked at Fangzheng and then the box.
Fangzheng took the box over, took the key around Huang Ren’s neck, and opened the box. In it was the tiny cloth bag that Chen Dashan had handed to Huang Ren years ago. In it was a military meritorious meal. Despite the many years, it remained brand new. Clearly, Huang Ren had maintained it very well.
Huang Ren looked at the medal and then Chen Dashan before him. Chen Dashan was smiling at him. The scene around them began changing as a roaring river flowed past them. They were standing by the side of the Songhua River.
However, Huang Ren did not find it jarring. It was as though everything was as per normal.
Fangzheng looked upstream the Songhua River where there were undulating mountains like a black dragon. The scenery was not conjured by Fangzheng but the scenery Huang Ren wished to see the most. Fangzheng was only going with the flow. At that moment, he handed the dream realm to Huang Ren, allowing him to watch, contemplate and think.
Fangzheng asked again, “Did you really not find my hometown?”
Huang Ren looked up into the sky and began singing.
“My home is by the Songhua River in the northeast,
It has forests and coal mines,
and a mountain filled with full sorghum.
My home is by the Songhua River in the northeast,
it has my fellow men,
and my aged parents.
Nine one eight. Nine one eight.”
Upon singing this, Huang Ren suddenly knelt to the ground as though he was mourning for the dead as he wailed. As he cried, he shouted the words ‘nine one eight,’ his tears streaming down his cheeks as he knelt and kowtowed. Although he did not elaborate, Fangzheng could tell that he was shouting that he was guilty! He had failed to protect his family and made them suffer! Although the invaders were repelled, he continued living in sorrow!
“From that miserable moment,
‘Nine one eight.’ ‘Nine one eight.’
From that miserable moment,
I have left my hometown,
abandoned endless treasures,
to wander! To wander!
Wandering all day at the borders!
Which month and year
will I be able to return to my beloved home?
Which month and year
will I be able to regain my endless treasure?
we be able to reunite in joy?”
By the end of the song, Huang Ren was kneeling on the ground, unable to stay at calm. Beside Huang Ren, Fangzheng similarly found it impossible to remain composed. He was also a child that had been brought up on this piece of land. He could not imagine the tragedy of how his country was being pillaged and sacked by the invaders. How many heroes like Huang Ren and Chen Dashan had stepped onto the battlefield in order to protect their country? After their deaths, their hometowns remained an unknown, leaving them no burial grounds. Their names had even been lost to time! Why did they die? For gain? Think about how their clothes were covered in patches and how they did not have food to fill their stomachs. Think of how great their poverty had been for them to not have medicine despite having a cold! Then did they die for fame? Who would remember an insignificant farmer-turned-soldier? Who would remember Chen Dashan and his comrade-in-arms? Who would remember the numerous times these warriors stayed behind to ensure the safety of the civilians’ retreat? Thinking back to the brigade with more than three thousand people, with fewer than fifty plus soldiers left Fangzheng’s heart began twisting into a knot.
Fangzheng could not help but ask, “Why did you join the army back then?”
“To protect our family and country!” Huang Ren enunciated each word as he stood up with his head and chest up! At that instant, Fangzheng seemed to see Huang Ren like he was in the final battle, heroic and bold!
After Huang Ren shouted, he looked at Fangzheng, “Brother Dashan taught me that the word man when written in Chinese comprises of a top radical that represents fields, and a bottom radical that represents strength! At home, the field is the Earth. Men will use their strength to plow the Earth to support the family! Outside, the field is the Heavens. Men will use their strength to hold up the Heavens to protect the country! After the war is won, people with homes will return home. Those without homes will return to the country. Those without countries will rebuild their countries!”
“Then where is Chen Dashan’s home?” asked Fangzheng.
Huang Ren stared at Fangzheng as he pointed at the mountains and river ahead of him, “This is his home! This is his home! This is his home! ” Huang Ren’s shouts turned louder and louder and finally, the scene shattered.
Huang Ren, who was lying in bed, suddenly opened his eyes. His eyes were extremely bright! Although his body had just undergone surgery and was lacking in strength, he was still able to ask with a spirited tone, “Venerable One, is there something?”
Fangzheng smiled. “Amitabha. Congratulations, Patron. There’s nothing from This Penniless Monk. Goodbye.”
At the instant Huang Ren opened his eyes, a familiar voice sounded in Fangzheng’s mind.
“Ding! Congratulations on completing the Formless Door’s mission. You are rewarded with one copy of the Buddhist scripture, Diamond Sutra! You are rewarded with a hundred merit points!”
“Just one scripture book?” Fangzheng asked, feeling a little displeased.
“One scripture book? Many people can achieve Buddhahood simply from researching one scripture book their entire life! This is a scripture book from a collection on Mount Numinous. It is not a scripture book of the mortal world, much less the one you read on your cell phone. Much of the content in it is slightly different. This is a true piece of scripture! Back then, Tripitaka had to undergo eighty-one ordeals to retrieve true scripture. Yet you obtained one nearly instantly. What more do you want? Ascend to heaven?”
“Fine, since you said so much, I’m content with what I have, alright?” Fangzheng had only commented casually. He knew very well that anything the System produced was excellent! Although it was only one scripture book, it would definitely be worth the trouble! Furthermore, he had also been given a hundred merit points. He had made a killing!