Red Boy rolled his eyes, “They are poor, but I was the king of a region back then. How can I compare with a bunch of mortal children?”
Fangzheng was only teasing him. When he saw the two children nearby, he walked forward and pressed his palms together, “Young Patrons, This Penniless Monk is One Finger Monastery’s abbot, Fangzheng. Might This Penniless Monk ask where this is?”
Dachen was immediately amused when he heard that. He had a somewhat savage look to his smile, but it was mostly magnanimous. He said with a laugh, “As expected, they’re lost.”
Fangzheng smiled without a word. It was fine being deemed lost since there was no difference in his present situation.
Dachen said, “My name is Li Dachen. This is Wang Erhu. This is our village, Daili Village.”
Fangzheng pressed his palms together, “Amitabha. Thank you, Young Patrons.”
Fangzheng also knew that he probably could not gain much from asking the two children. It was better to enter the village to take a look. He bade them farewell and headed in with Red Boy. Red Boy remained silent the entire way. From his point of view, the two bumpkin children had no right to speak to an esteemed demon king like him. He could not be bothered with them. However, when they came beside the two children, he saw their eyes wear a look of anticipation. But when he walked past them, they slowly turned disappointed. That feeling made him feel a little sour.
However, Red Boy immediately turned his head over and snorted inwardly, “I’m a great demon king. Why should I care about two poor kids?”
“Brother Dachen, what’s an abbot? What is he doing? Why does he start off sentences with ‘Amitabha’?” Erhu scratched his head and asked out of curiosity.
“I have no idea either. They have entered the village. Let’s go. Let’s follow and see what’s up! Village Chief and the rest must know what an abbot is. His clothes look really clean. It would be nice if I had something like that,” said Dachen with a sigh.
“Forget it. Do you have the water to wash a set of white clothes?”
Upon entering the village, Fangzheng realized that the village was very different from what he had imagined it would be. It had earth-yellow walls and dilapidated houses, as well as curious looks from people. Fangzheng immediately became a strange creature in the eyes of all the villagers, or perhaps he seemed more like an endangered animal.
In any case, Fangzheng had the feeling like he was in a zoo
Of course, everyone looked at him without any nefarious thoughts. It was mostly curiosity. Why would a monk come to them?
At that moment, a man walked out of a compound and said to Fangzheng, “Venerable One, I’m the village chief around here. You can call me Village Chief Lei. Where did you come from?”
“Amitabha. This Penniless Monk came from afar and is a bit loss. It’s no longer early so This Penniless Monk has come to receive some alms and a place to stay.”
Fangzheng was speaking the truth. He was indeed lost and had no idea where to head to. He had no clue with respect to the Formless Door’s mission. However, he knew he was bound to find clues by mixing with humans. Simultaneously, Fangzheng activated his Wisdom Eye and took a look around. He did not see anything special about anyone. The villagers had merit as well as negative karma. Some had more or less of a particular kind of karma, but none of them manifested lotus flowers or produced any indicators. This left Fangzheng somewhat stunned. Had he walked in the wrong direction?
However, with the sun slowly setting, Fangzheng still planned on asking people about the situation to get a better understanding before he made any decision.
“I see. Venerable One, as long as you don’t mind, you can stay at my place first.” Village Chief Lei was rather warm and hospitable.
Fangzheng naturally did not reject him and immediately thanked him. He followed Village Chief Lei to his home with Red Boy in tow. Although Village Chief Lei was the village chief, the house he stayed in was not luxurious in any way. It was made of mud and stone. The walls were very thick so as to insulate them from the heat. The room Fangzheng stayed in was very clean. It left Fangzheng very satisfied.
“Uncle, do you have water? I’m thirsty.” After taking up residence, Red Boy did not stand on ceremony and immediately made a fuss.
Village Chief Lei chuckled, “I’ll get you some in a while.” With that said, his broad back departed. He came back with a large bowl of water shortly after. Red Boy was indeed thirsty. He immediately took it from him and gulped a huge mouthful down. But
Red Boy spat a mouthful of water into the distance as he cried, “What crappy water is this? It tastes like crap and has a weird taste. There’s even sand in it!”
Village Chief Lei blushed the moment he heard that as a heart-aching pain seemed to flash in his eyes.
When Fangzheng saw Village Chief Lei and the water on the ground, he raised his hand and struck Red Boy, “How can monks be picky when outside?”
Red Boy said aggrieved, “It really sucks! Try it if you don’t believe me.”
Fangzheng took it over and took a mouthful. Indeed, the water tasted strange. It was as though it had been treated with a chemical and indeed, there was sand. After having drank Unrooted Clean Aqua, it was truly quite difficult to consume water like that.
Village Chief Lei said with a wry smile when he saw this, “Venerable Ones, why don’t you wait. There should be good water in a while.”
At that moment, a woman’s shout could be heard from outside, “Old Lei, get some water over. It’s time to prepare dinner.”
Village Chief Lei smiled wryly, “Well I’ll be tending to some mathers first.”
Fangzheng tipped his head and finished the bowl of water. Although the water tasted terrible, Fangzheng was no fool. It was clear that this place was suffering from a lack of water. Here, wasting water was a more painful process than wasting food! Regardless if he was a monk or not, it would be too disrespectful if he did not drink the water offered by others.
When Village Chief Lei saw Fangzheng finish the bowl of water, the smile on his face turned more radiant. He had seen many people come to his village, and all of them had succumbed at that bowl of water. Fangzheng’s performance had no doubt given him a good impression.
Village Chief Lei turned around and left. Red Boy curled his lips, “Seriously. They don’t even have some water to drink. What sort of godforsaken place is this?”
Fangzheng looked out and said, “It’s hard to tell where this is. But it’s certain that this place is suffering from a serious drought. Let’s go and take a look outside.”
“We are going outside again? It’s so hot” Although Red Boy was not afraid of the heat, the mere sight of the environment outside left him frustrated.
“Aren’t you curious where the water we drank came from?”
Red Boy’s eyes lit up when he heard that. “That’s right. I need to take a look at that! I want to see what sort of crappy water that was. They did not give us proper water and made us drink that. Hmph! If it were the me from the past, I would-”
“Yes?” Fangzheng shot a glance at Red Boy.
Red Boy immediately shut up.
Fangzheng nodded in satisfaction. When they walked out, they saw Village Chief Lei come out of a mud house. He held a tiny bucket of water and entered the kitchen. Red Boy snorted, “Let’s go take a look.”
Red Boy remained displeased. Although this place might have a shortage of water, it was not right for them to let him drink such strange-flavored water, right?
Fangzheng was afraid Red Boy would be up to no good, so he immediately followed. When they came outside the room, they heard voices inside.
“Lei, there’s not much water left, right?” The person speaking was an old woman. Her voice sounded somewhat frail.
“Mom, you are overthinking things. There’s plenty of water. Drink with ease,” Village Chief Lei’s voice sounded quite brisk and vigorous.