Fangzheng laughed when he saw the beaming faces of everyone around him. He whispered to He Ming, “Patron, why do you do all of this?”
He Ming was taken aback before he gave a candid laugh and pointed at the scene in front of him. He countered with a question, “Is there anything you can wish for after seeing such a scene?”
Fangzheng was taken aback before he smiled. He pressed his palms together, “Amitabha.”
“Venerable One, I’m also very curious. Why did you come here?” asked He Ming out of curiosity.
Fangzheng looked up into the sky. “In fact, This Penniless Monk does not know. If there has to be a reason, perhaps it’s for this scene. This scene which should have been hellish has become paradise because of your arrival. This Penniless Monk has learned a lot.”
“Venerable One, you are being polite. What we can do is ultimately limited. It’s unknown how long this paradise can be maintained” He Ming shared his worries. They were people of different professions. Some of them were teachers, students, or staff of government organizations. Others were ordinary workers, and they had all gathered to do good. But everyone had their matters to tend to. No one knew what could happen in the future that would prevent them from coming. Similarly, they could not guarantee that there would not be any unforeseen changes in the future, preventing all of them from coming.
When this heavy topic was raised, Fangzheng and He Ming fell silent.
As the night got deeper, the two movies finished airing and people began dispersing.
Upon returning to their room, Red Boy looked at Fangzheng with tearing eyes, “Master”
Fangzheng smiled. “My dear disciple, how were your lessons today? Do you wish to continue tomorrow?”
“Master, I was wrong. Please do not throw me to that witch. She’s too horrible. That mouth of hers is more terrifying than your scripture recitals!” Red Boy lamented with a tearful tone.
Fangzheng laughed in response and patted him on the head, “That will depend on your performance. Tell me, what did you learn today. For instance, tell me about the village.”
Red Boy was taken aback at first. But in the moment following his surprise, he understood what Fangzheng was implying. He climbed into bed and thought for a moment before recounting what he had heard today.
Daili Village was not a village in the northwestern province of China as Fangzheng had imagined. Instead, it was in the southwestern mountainous provinces. Reasonably speaking, this was a place that ought to have plenty of water, but for some reason, it was turning drier every year with decreasing rainfall. Especially where Daili Village was.
Fangzheng also gained a deeper understanding of the village. It was far poorer than he imagined. Those that could leave had left. Only the elderly and children were powerless when it came to leaving. And what further alarmed Fangzheng was that there were worse villages beyond Daili Village! Daili Village had Hope Primary School at the very least, but if the children in the other villages wanted to study? They could only traverse mountains and waters, taking two hours to get here! He Ming and company did not only deliver water to Daili Village. They had to rush to another village the next day before returning to the city. They had work the day after.
Upon saying this, Red Boy used his arm as a pillow as he looked up at the roof, “Master, what are these people doing this for? Back where I’m from, no one would do such tiring but unrewarding tasks. My mom said that survival of the fittest is a law of the world. I can snatch away everything by being strong! But if I snatch everything away, why should I give it to the weaklings? I really don’t understand.”
Fangzheng similarly used his arm as a pillow while looking at the ceiling. He said with grave earnestness, “We have been in Daili Village for some time. Did you see the changes between before and after they arrived?”
“When we came, the village was spiritless. After they came, the entire village bustled. It’s like It’s like an elder who is past his prime and awaiting death suddenly seeing hope. It’s like they regained their youthfulness.”
“That’s right. The joy of the villagers makes the volunteers happy. What about you?” Fangzheng regretted the moment he asked.
“I’m not happy at all. There are so many flies”
Fangzheng chuckled and rubbed Red Boy on the head, “This Penniless Monk was very happy tonight.”
“Why? Just because they are happy?”
“It’s because there was no need to see a brat tonight.”
Red Boy: “”
Fangzheng continued, “Helping others should be a happy and meaningful matter. You are powerful, so all you need to do is wave your hands if you wish to kill someone. But people should have some pursuits when alive, right? Don’t you get bored doing something that simple?”
Red Boy scratched his head, “No idea. I’ve never thought about it. However, will helping others really make one happy?”
Fangzheng countered with a question, “What do you think? Alright. Have some sleep. We will be going to the next village with He Ming and company tomorrow.” With that said, Fangzheng turned around and fell asleep.
Red Boy ruminated over Fangzheng’s words. Happiness? He thought of Huang Ren. At the very least, he felt like he had accomplished something when Huang Ren woke up. That feeling was something he had never experienced in the past. It felt quite good. Upon thinking of that, Red Boy unknowingly smiled.
The next day, the rooster crowed at the top of its lungs. Before the sky was fully lit, there were people talking outside. Everyone seemed to have turned busy.
Thankfully, Fangzheng and Red Boy were not the kind of people who lazed in bed. They got up and went out to take in the situation.
He Ming and company had already prepared the water of one carriage and were prepared to head for the next stop. He Ming and company were naturally overjoyed to hear Fangzheng’s offer to help. Delivering water was not an easy task. Although the horse drew the carriages, the mountain trails were difficult to traverse. People were often required to push or help support the carriage. Every additional person was another bit of strength.
Village Chief Lei followed as well. He was one of the few able people in the village.
The group set off again, taking advantage of the cooler weather before the sky turned bright.
Fangzheng once again realized the terrible environmental conditions. The mountain trail was steep and it was exhausting on the old horses. However, with Fangzheng and Red Boy there, this bit of difficulty became nothing.
“Hehe! Venerable One, you have quite a bit of strength,” He Ming looked at Fangzheng in astonishment. They were already deeply aware how heavy the carriage was. He was only one person, yet their pushing became extremely easy. They naturally neglected Red Boy for his age and attributed it all to Fangzheng.
“This Penniless Monk often trains physically, equipping me with some strength.”
Yao Yuxin asked out of curiosity, “I heard monks practice martial arts. I’ve been to many large monasteries. The martial monks there” A minute later, everyone automatically ignored the loquacious chick. Two minutes later, Yao Yuxin asked, “Venerable One, do you practice martial arts too?”
Fangzheng was immediately rendered too deep for tears. After all that talk, this was probably the question she wanted to know? Couldn’t she be more direct to the point? He squeezed a smile, “This Penniless Monk has indeed practiced martial arts.”
“Wah! That impressive?” exclaimed Yao Yuxin in excitement.
Fangzheng did feel happy being complimented by a girl. But following that
Yao Yuxin shouted, “Venerable One, why don’t you fly for us to see? You know, the kind where you walk on walls like you are flying! I’ve seen martial monks perform that before. But unfortunately, they had ropes”