The crowd seemed enlightened as the people quipped, “That’s right. How can a monastery be distinguished by size? Efficacy depends on sincerity. Its only purpose is to consecrate Buddha. Why would its size matter?”
Then all of them looked at Zhiyun and Zhineng like they were retards!
Zhiyun and Zhineng could not stand the piercing gazes of everyone as they quickly ran away with their tails between their legs. However, while doing so, Zhiyun failed to steady the black plastic bag in his hand and dropped it, producing a resounding shattering sound of glass. Then, everyone caught a whiff of beer. Someone with sharp eyes immediately saw the broken glass from a beer bottle. “The two of you were even drinking!?”
Zhiyun quickly picked up the bag in fright as they dashed for the elevator. Zhiyun even shouted, “You saw wrong. It’s not beer! It’s medicinal oil.”
“We didn’t even say it was beer. Why are you so flustered?” cried a person.
Zhiyun knew that he had let the cat out of the bag. His face flushed red, only to be saved by the moving escalator.
Inside the escalator, the brothers exchanged looks. Both of them wore nasty expressions. Zhineng rebuked him, “I told you earlier. When we are out, we have to be careful! Look at you f**king giving me trouble. Great, how are we to resolve this matter now? If word gets to Master, the both of us will be punished.”
“Bro, stop scolding me. It’s best we think of a way to clear this mess now that we are in this situation,” said Zhiyun with a bitter smile.
Zhineng leaned onto the walls of the elevator with dark, sinister eyes. Then, he pressed the button to the top floor.
“Bro, what are you doing? Aren’t we going to the eighth floor?”
“Are you dumb? If those people want to continue their denouncement, won’t they find us if we stop at the eighth floor? Besides, I need some time to think of a solution.”
Zhiyun fumed, “It’s all because of that darn baldy. If not for him, we wouldn’t be in this predicament.” Somehow, he had forgotten that it was he who started this furore by finding fault with Fangzheng. It was also he who bought the beer, something that had nothing to do with Fangzheng.
Zhineng thought for a moment before finally thinking of a solution. When he shared his plans with Zhiyun, his brother was gripped by anxiety. “Bro, how can we do that?”
“Since it has already happened and those people have seen us, someone must be the scapegoat. I’m now in charge of the monastery’s money. If I am punished, do you think you can still get married in the future? That’s why, you be the scapegoat. We have to put up this act,” said Zhineng sternly.
Zhiyun looked bitterly at Zhineng. “Is there no other way?”
“At least I haven’t thought of a better solution. If there hadn’t been so many people watching, we could have worked together to pin the blame on Fangzheng, but now That’s all we can do. Don’t waste time. Are you doing it or not? If you don’t, both of us are finished! If the accounts are checked, both of us will be in prison for a very long time!”
Zhiyun turned apprehensive when he heard the word prison. He clenched his teeth. “Alright, but Bro, don’t use too much force while beating me.”
“Ah! Ah! Lighter Ah! Bro! I was wrong! Ah!”
Fangzheng did not care for the situation inside the hotel after he left. After all, he was not feeling very happy.
Under the neon lights and amid towering skyscrapers, the sea of lights resembled luminous stars. By the side were a flood of metal carriages in the form of cars whistling by While walking down the street, Fangzheng felt that everything around him felt like an illusion. The sky seemed higher, so high that it appeared unreachable. The buildings also effused coldness. Fangzheng could not help but sigh.
Ouyang Fenghua said wryly, “Master, sorry. This is my first time out by myself too. I forgot to book a room on the Internet.”
Fangzheng shook his head. “Patron, This Penniless Monk isn’t blaming you. Instead, This Penniless Monk has implicated you. After all, This Penniless Monk is lacking in city experience. If not for that, we could have avoided today’s awkward situation.”
“Master, why are you sighing then?”
Fangzheng looked at the flourishing district to his side. “This Penniless Monk is only feeling wistful. This Penniless Monk recalls his Master teaching him when he was young. He had solicited donations all the way from the south to the north. Back then, this place was not like this, with skyscrapers and people everywhere. Typically, it would take more than ten kilometers before one would encounter a family. However no matter where he went, he could get a night’s shelter and a vegetarian meal by knocking on a door. Although it was a tough journey, it was a warming one. However, for some reason, when This Penniless Monk walks on these streets and looks at the countless lights beside me, it feels like a dream. It’s as though an invisible wall has formed between us, isolating us from each other. They seem like a mirage, a cold accessory that doesn’t exist.”
Ouyang Fenghua ruminated as she listened to Fangzheng as she nodded and whispered, “My dad once said that he doesn’t like cities. The bigger it is, the more he dislikes it. He mentioned that being in the city is like being a bird in a cage. Each bird to a cage. Although they are all in a forest, being able to see and hear each other, it is impossible for them to walk up to each other. The furthest distance in the world is the distance between two doors. Despite being just one step away, they are forever left shut, never to meet.”
Fangzheng sighed. “It’s an illness.”
Ouyang Fenghua nodded in agreement. “That’s right. The city is ill”
As the duo conversed, they slowly advanced forward with Red Boy tailing behind them. He pouted his lips as though he was disagreeable with what they said. “Master, I finally know why Jingfa doesn’t wish to come out. Coming out with you is like meeting a crisis.”
Fangzheng had no means to retort. The last time he brought Lone Wolf out, both of them had been sitting by the road the entire afternoon before Wang Kun brought them home. Now, it looked like they were in a similar situation. Just that this time, there were two people with him.
At this moment, there was a screeching sound of a car braking. A familiar voice sounded. “Venerable Fangzheng?”
Fangzheng turned his head and saw a fatty peek his head out from inside. He grinned and exclaimed, “Hey, Venerable Fangzheng. It’s really you! I knew it! The only monk in the world that wears a white monk robe is you!”
The person was none other than Fatty who had scaled Mt. One Finger with Monkey and Jiang Ting back then. Ever since the calligraphy competition, Fangzheng had never seen him. He never expected to meet him here today.
Fangzheng pressed his palms together and smiled amiably. “Ah, it’s Patron Fatty. Long time no see.”
“Venerable One. We will still be friends if you don’t call me fat,” Fatty said with a bitter look.
Fangzheng chuckled and did not think much of it.
Fatty shot a glance at Ouyang Fenghua as a look of surprise flashed in his eyes. Back at the calligraphy competition, other than him, the only person who caught the eyes of others was this young beauty. He naturally had an impression of her, but he never imagined that the daughter of Fangzheng’s opponent would be in such a close relationship with Fangzheng. However, Fatty did not probe. He believed that Fangzheng was a truly awesome master. It was impossible for him to make a mistake on his principles.
Therefore Fatty asked out of curiosity, “Venerable Fangzheng, since all of you are here for the Dharma Assembly, why are you loitering in the streets so late at night?”