Seeing this, Lone Wolf did not stand on ceremony, and he straightaway just touched Fatty's ass. It made Fatty think that the wolf had the hots for him, so when he climbed up the mountain again, he would always cover his ass or circle around. It left everyone simmering with laughter, unsure whether to laugh or cry.
As for Fangzheng, he did not slack off either. When the group descended the mountain, his rice was already done. However, he cooked another pot of rice. The quantity wasn't a lot, but it was barely sufficient to satiate five people. It was not that he wasn't generous, but that he could not afford it! It was still a question whether he would manage to survive the winter...
After numerous trips back and forth, the final bucket of water was poured into the Buddha Vat in the late afternoon, filling the entire Buddha Vat to the brim!
Fatty and Monkey jumped up and exchanged a high five before laughing heartily. Moments later, they crashed their buttocks to the ground, unwilling to stand up again.
"Fatty, Monkey, are the two of you okay?" The three girls were not doing much better. They were delicate girls and although they did not carry much weight, the climbing up and down the mountain over ten times had left them exhausted.
Fatty was gasping for breath, lacking even the energy to raise his eyelids, but he said, "I'm fine. Seriously, this isn't as tiring as when I work. Now that it's done and I'm taking a break, it feels like my entire body has crumbled apart. I don't even want to move."
Monkey simply lied on the ground and added, "I really can't move. All I want to do now is lie here and sleep to the ends of time."
"It's not that I'm not hardworking, it's simply because Earth's gravity is too strong!" Fatty followed up.
At that moment, Fangzheng brought over a small bucket of water. He scooped water from it and placed it in front of the group. With a Buddhist proclamation, he said, "Amitabha. Patrons, have some water. This water can replenish your strength and accelerate the recovery."
"Master, I'm really out of strength," Fatty said with a tearful tone.
Thankfully, Lu Xiaoya and Ruan Ying still had some strength. They got up and scooped the water to feed the two.
At that moment, Fatty grumbled, "Master, the agreement was for us to drink that water from before. Why are you giving us the water from the vat? We have had our fill drinking this water down the mountain. Although it tastes pretty good, it's nowhere close to the quality of the one you gave us before."
Fangzheng chuckled and said, "This is Unrooted Clean Aqua, Buddhist water blessed by This Penniless Monk. The taste is naturally different. But in fact, the two are identical."
"Are you serious?" Fatty was flustered for a moment, but when he drank a mouthful of the water Ruan Ying fed him, he immediately believed it! Although he claimed that he was out of strength, he ended up grabbing a scoop and gulping the water down immediately. Just as Fangzheng had said, the water would flow into all their cells upon entry, replenishing them with moisture and energy. It could accelerate their recovery from fatigue!
After drinking a scoop of water, Fatty clearly appeared enlivened. He also had a bit more strength. Without needing Ruan Ying to feed him, he sat beside the water bucket and drank it scoop after scoop. While he drank, he would from time to time exclaim, "Awesome! Great!"
Monkey wasn't too different either. When the three girls saw this, they also began drinking the water. It was like a refreshing rain after a period of drought. How could the word 'great' be used to describe Unrooted Clean Aqua?
Just as the group of people was drinking happily, Fangzheng suddenly took the water bucket away.
"Hey, hey, hey! Master, we agreed that you would provide as much as we want, right?" Fatty could not accept it as he grumbled loudly.
Fangzheng said with a smile, "Patrons, if you continue drinking, you will be full from drinking."
"Wouldn't that be good? We're almost starving," Fatty rubbed his belly and said bitterly.
"That's right! Master, we haven't had our fill from drinking it," Jiang Ting said as well.
Fangzheng said with a smile, "Are you sure you want to be full from drinking water?"
"Absolutely and definitely, as well as completely!"
The five nodded their heads vigorously with great seriousness. It looked like they would fight to the death if they were not given the water.
Fangzheng nodded and placed the water bucket down. Then, he turned around to leave. As he did so, he mumbled, "That's good too. That way, This Penniless Monk's rice can be conserved. This Penniless Monk's temple is a small one, so rice is a rare commodity. If you do not want to eat, you have allowed This Penniless Monk to feel at ease."
"Master, hold on! What did you say?" Fatty, who was about to drink the water, had his ears prick up. He immediately called out when he heard Fangzheng's words.
Fangzheng said, "Whatever you heard is what This Penniless Monk said."
"Thank you, Master!" Fatty immediately shouted. Although the water was delicious, it was impossible to drink too much of it. More importantly, water could not alleviate hunger. Upon realizing that there was food, the fellow seemed to be completely rejuvenated as he jumped up and guffawed.
Monkey and company were not deaf either. They laughed as well and profusely thanked Fangzheng.
Fangzheng shook his head slightly and opened the rice pot. In the next moment, white steam rose up, emanating a fragrance everywhere. An aroma unique to the Crystal Rice filled the kitchen as the five tried their best to suck in the steam with an intoxicated expression. This was the first time they realized that rice could smell so good and, as it seemed, taste so delicious!
"Master, what rice is this? It's so fragrant!" Jiang Ting asked curiously.
Fangzheng chuckled with a reply, "The Buddha Says: Not to be said. Patrons, do you want some?"
"Yes!" The five spontaneously answered. At that moment, the group's brains were overwhelmed by their cravings and could no longer think of anything else. And even more pertinently, they had begun to trust Fangzheng. They no longer felt wary against him like when they first came up the mountain.
Fangzheng nodded and scooped a bowl of rice for each person.
"Master, where are the side dishes?" Fatty asked with rice in hand.
Fangzheng said with a bitter smile, "This Penniless Monk lives in a land that suffers the bitter cold, so how can there be any side dishes? It's almost winter, so there are no leafy vegetables. If you really want some, there are some wild vegetables. You can eat those if you want."
"Ah?" Fatty was dumbfounded, along with Jiang Ting. Although the rice was fragrant, wouldn't simply eating rice alone be...
Before Jiang Ting could even say something, she heard incessant gobbling sounds. Jiang Ting turned her head and pointed behind Fatty as she exclaimed, "Fatty, look!"
Fatty looked over and saw Monkey, Lu Xiaoya, and Ruan Ying devouring the rice. The fierce expressions they had were as if the rice was their blood enemy! Their eating speed was extremely fast!
The duo found the sight familiar. It was the same expression they had back when they drank the water. Once they realized how the rice was cooked with Unrooted Clean Aqua, they knew that the taste would definitely be extraordinary indeed. Hence, the duo began eating. A mouthful of sweet and soft rice entered their mouths, and a delectable fragrance burst out the moment they chewed on it, filling their mouth with a savory smell!
The rice grains were ample, and the outer crust seemingly bound its contents with glue. A gentle bite would squeeze out the sweet and oily flesh of the rice, making it only taste better!
Those were the thoughts that streaked across their minds, and all that was left for them to do was to bury their heads into wolfing down the rice. However, Fatty still remembered the wild vegetables Fangzheng had mentioned. He believed that they would definitely not be ordinary. Hence, when the others weren't watching, he grabbed a mouthful and had a taste of it. If it was delicious, he planned on finishing it secretly alone.
However, he nearly vomited the moment the vegetables entered his mouth. He cried out inwardly, "What the f*ck is this!"
Thankfully, the rice was delicious, so he managed to endure it.
After being certain that Fatty would not eat the wild vegetables, Fangzheng put them away. Although the wild vegetables were unpalatable, they were green vegetables. He needed to rely on these wild vegetables to ensure his nutrition during the winter. He had to save as much as he could!