In fact Red Boy also understood that this was Fangzheng’s true character. No matter what requests were placed by external entities or him, or how he put on a divine-like Buddhist facade, he was ultimately an active boy. He only maintained his image of an accomplished monk in front of others. If he let himself loose, the mischievous acts Fangzheng could do were in no way inferior to Red Boy.’s
After all, Fangzheng had once been the little devil in the village. He did not pilfer serious stuff, but fruit trees were frequent victims of his.
Both of them ran back to the meditation room and began eating!
“Master, I’m your disciple. I’m still growing. Let me eat two while you eat one.”
“I’m growing too. Besides, don’t you know how to show respect to your seniors? I’ll eat two, while you eat one.”
“Master, you have to show love to your disciples!”
“I’m already showing you love. You just had a meal, but I haven’t even had a bite.”
“Master, can we not talk about the food from before? If you want some, you can go there now. I’m sure it’s still available.”
“Let’s not talk about it then.”
The duo continued this exchange for quite some time, all for the sake of one rice ball. At that moment, the door to the room opened.
“Venerable Fangzheng, Jingxin, what are you doing?” Ouyang Fenghua noticed that it was lunch time but had failed to see Red Boy and Fangzheng. Hence she came searching for them, only to see the duo tussling on the bed. They were vying for a rice ball, and behind them was one rice ball each.
When Fangzheng and Red Boy heard her, they immediately stopped the snatching. They immediately sat up and just as Fangzheng was about to say something, he saw Ouyang Fenghua pick up a rice ball and give it a sniff. Then she said with a look of pleasant surprise, “This rice ball is really fragrant.”
Fangzheng and Red Boy simultaneously felt a sense of foreboding rise in them
Red Boy instantly said, “Sis Ouyang, why are you here?”
“Isn’t it lunch time? I was afraid you would be hungry, so I came to bring you to lunch. Who knew that both of you were hiding here eating something nice. Do you mind if I try this?” Ouyang Fenghua looked at Fangzheng and Red Boy with widened eyes.
What else could they say? They had been sponging off her the entire journey. Even their residence and transportation had been paid by her. How could they not give her a rice ball when she wanted one?
The both exchanged looks and saw the blame in each other’s eyes. ‘It’s all your fault! If you had not vied for it, we would have long finished it. How wonderful would that be! We got screwed!’
Then the two said in unison with a smile, “Patron (Sis), go ahead. It’s perfect that we can each have one.” As the two spoke, their hearts were bleeding from the loss. Especially Fangzheng’s. He had not eaten anything at lunch. One rice ball was not enough! Even after finishing it, he felt his empty stomach. He was hungry!
After Ouyang Fenghua finished the rice ball, her eyes lit up. The remnant fragrance in her mouth made her entire being turn excited. “Venerable Fangzheng, do you still have more? This is really delicious!”
Fangzheng and Red Boy hurriedly shook their heads. “There’s none left!”
“Where did you get this from? Can I buy some?” Ouyang Fenghua continued pressing. She loved the flavors and planned on buying some to let her parents try.
“Patron, you can buy it naturally if it’s fated. By the way, what did you come here for?” Fangzheng quickly diverted the topic. He did not wish to explain the Crystal Rice. It would only be trouble if he elaborated on it.
Thankfully, Ouyang Fenghua immediately changed topics. “Isn’t it noon? I’m inviting you two to lunch.”
“Lunch? Is it still the same place as yesterday?” cried Red Boy immediately.
Ouyang Fenghua nodded. “Yeah, is there somewhere else? Isn’t the food all there?”
Red Boy nearly burst out into tears when he heard her mention elsewhere. That food Red Boy shot a glance at Fangzheng when he recalled the food. If not for him being no match for Fangzheng, he would have definitely beaten the darn baldy to death.
Fangzheng pressed his palms together. “Amitabha. Patron, This Penniless Monk and Jingxin have already eaten lunch. Go on by yourself.”
“Don’t. I’m still not full. I’m hungry!” Red Boy shouted out immediately.
Fangzheng raised his eyelids. “Jingxin, if you are hungry, I can bring you there. I’ll ensure you get your fill. It’s best not to burden Patron Ouyang.”
Red Boy nearly jumped in fright when he heard that as he shook his head quickly. “Master, I think it’s best you enjoy that food yourself. I’ll just eat with Sis.”
“Is there really some other food hall?” asked Ouyang Fenghua out of curiosity.
Fangzheng nodded. “Yes, there’s a vegetarian hall for real monks. Why? Do you want to try it?”
Ouyang Fenghua’s eyes instantly lit up as she said excitedly, “Since we are here, I obviously have to try an orthodox Buddhist vegetarian meal. Venerable Fangzheng, about that”
Fangzheng immediately said, “Jingxin, since Patron Ouyang wishes to have a taste of the real vegetarian hall’s food, why don’t you bring her there? I’m still not done with a passage of scriptures. Amitabha. I won’t be joining the both of you.”
With that said, Fangzheng sat cross-legged and looked like an elderly monk in meditation.
Ouyang Fenghua immediately looked at Red Boy and found him grinding his teeth. He was glaring intently at Fangzheng as though fire was about to spew out of his eyes.
“Jingxin, what happened to you? Are you not feeling well? Why are you grinding your teeth? I’m telling you, it’s not good for children to grind their teeth. If your teeth were to end up growing crooked, it wouldn’t look nice in the future.”
Red Boy was immediately rendered speechless. Grinding his teeth? This was called gnashing one’s teeth in anger, alright? Just as Red Boy was about to say something, he heard Fangzheng say, “Jingxin, I’m going to begin reciting the scriptures.”
Red Boy immediately swallowed the words that he was about to say. Feeling extremely aggrieved, he said, “Master, I’m actually full from the meal before. I said I wanted to go out to have fun. I think such thoughts aren’t right. So, I’ve decided to punish myself by reciting the sutras in the meditation room. I won’t be going out.”
“No!” Ouyang Fenghua was first to shout out before Fangzheng could reply.
“Patron, This Penniless Monk should be punished for his sins. Patron, if you wish to eat the vegetarian meal, go on ahead. Just go out, ask any monk, and you will find it,” said Red Boy in all seriousness.
“Venerable One, Jingxin is still growing. If he doesn’t fill his stomach, it will be detrimental to his growth.” Ouyang Fenghua began helping plead on Jingxin’s behalf, thinking that he was afraid of Fangzheng.
Fangzheng shot a glance at Red Boy, to which Red Boy saw a hint of a nefarious smile. He felt extremely miserable. This was the first time he realized that kind-hearted thoughts could at times be a trap!
Fangzheng nodded slightly. “Patron, what you said makes sense. Jingxin, your punishment is to bring Patron Ouyang for the meal. And you have to eat two bowls!”
“Master, that is the real punishment!” Red Boy said with reddened eyes.
Fangzheng smiled as he stroked Red Boy’s head as he spoke with deep, hidden meaning in his words, “Don’t snatch things in the future. It’s not good.”
Red Boy rolled his eyes and thought, “F**k! It’s indeed because he’s exacting revenge. This darn baldy!”
Finally Red Boy miserably led Ouyang Fenghua away. After Red Boy left, Fangzheng dug out a Crystal Rice rice ball from a cabinet and slowly ate it. He chuckled. “This really tastes good.”
The next day at dawn, Fangzheng came early to the ruins by the side of the river. However, Fangzheng was surprised to see Yuan Hai already there. However this time, Yuan Hai had clearly gone slightly further into the river. In his swimming trunks and goggles, he plunged into the water.