Translator: CKtalon Editor: CKtalon
As Fangzheng let the sea breeze blow at him while he took in the unique smell of the sea, he watched the sun slowly set. Red and golden radiance left behind a long halo across the surface of the sea. It was then destroyed by the waves. The feeling was really nice.
After an unknown period of time, the sun finally set fully. They were not at a public beach, so there were no street lamps, making it pitch black. However the stars in the sky were still very bright. As they twinkled, Fangzheng could hear the crashing of the waves. That together with the stargazing felt extremely satisfying.
“Aiyah, what’s that!?” At that moment, Red Boy suddenly jumped up and held his buttocks. He turned his head and saw a tiny crab crawl out from the sand beneath his ass. It was flailing its claws at him, indicating its displeasure with Red Boy for blocking his home.
Red Boy cursed, “How dare a crab like you act arrogantly in front of me? Watch me stew you!”
The crab quickly shrank backwards. An indignant Red Boy began digging the sand, but failed to see the crab again despite digging all day. He stamped his feet angrily in response.
Fangzheng couldn’t be bothered with the clown since the crab was fine.
It was Ding Yu who was very happy watching all of this. She hugged her knees and rested her head on them. She watched everything play out while smiling. At times, she would cheer Red Boy on. Seemingly encouraged by her, Red Boy turned even more energetic.
After quite a farce, Red Boy got lazy and sat beside Fangzheng. He looked up into the sky and said, “Master, I saw on the Internet that today is Double Seventh Festival, or Chinese Valentine’s Day. It’s the day the weaver girl and cowherd reunite. There’s also something about a magpie bridge, but look at the sky. There’s no magpie bridge. Indeed, the Internet is filled with lies.”
“Silly. That’s a legend. Of course, it’s not real,” said Ding Yu with a smile.
Fangzheng smiled as well. “Double Seventh Festival was never a day for lovers in the beginning. Instead, it was called the Beseeching Skills Festival, the Women’s Festival, or the Daughter’s Festival. The festival became richer in lore after the legend of the weaver girl and cowherd. It also gave it a new definition, that it is a day for lovers. But today, Valentine’s Day is no longer what it was like in the past. In the past, Valentine’s Day had meaning to it, but now… It’s basically about gifting roses, chocolates, a meal, and that before it’s over.”
“What do you mean ‘that’?” Red Boy’s eyes blinked as he asked, looking all curious.
Fangzheng rolled his eyes. “That.”
“What’s that?” pressed Red Boy.
“Figure it out yourself.” There was no way Fangzheng would be telling him that it involved getting a room, right?
“Master, as a master, you should answer my queries. I really do not know what ‘that’ is. Tell me, what ‘that’ is.” Red Boy tugged at Fangzheng’s arm, his eyes filled with a smiling glint. Clearly the punk knew and just wanted Fangzheng to verbalize it.
In the end…
Fangzheng raised his hand!
“Ask more, and you will give me scripture recital inspirations.” Fangzheng glared at Red Boy.
Red Boy chuckled and thought nothing of it. In fact, apart from the two scripture recitals Fangzheng had given in the beginning, he had never done it again. Red Boy was already accustomed to Fangzheng’s use of it as a threat.
By the side, Ding Yu smiled as she watched the lovable master-disciple duo. However her face was red. She coughed from time to time as she curled into a ball.
“Venerable Fangzheng, I’ve heard similar things before. My mom said that Double Seventh Festival was interesting in the past. There were a lot of activities as well. There were embroidery competitions, spider-catching, needle shadow predictions, sprout-growing, praying to Mahākāla, the weavergirl, the dipper stars, celebrating the cowherd’s birthday, or hanging out books and clothes, etc. It seems there’s none of that these days. Even I have not experienced any of that before,” said Ding Yu with a sigh.
Fangzheng said, “Even in the past, few people experienced that. These activities were more common in the south. They were rarer in the north. This Penniless Monk also learned about it from This Penniless Monk’s master. He said that every year’s Double Seventh Festival, there would be lantern decorations, and women would gather together. They would stand under trees to consecrate the weaver girl or the dipper stars. There was quite a bustle in the past, but unfortunately the place where This Penniless Monk hails from doesn’t share this culture. At most, people would only buy a few mud Mahākāla figurines to play with during the festival.”
“Mahākāla? I bought one before too. It’s a tiny doll that holds a lotus flower. It looks very beautiful.” After Ding Yu said that, she took out her cell phone to look at the time. She heaved a sigh of relief. “Phew.”
“What? What happened?”
Ding Yu shook her head. “Nothing.”
“Sister Ding Yu, I saw a travel bag in your room. Are you going on a vacation?” Red Boy suddenly asked.
Ding Yu was stunned as Fangzheng was taken aback as well. He asked, “You are leaving?”
Ding Yu smiled wryly. “I have no choice. My parents are always abroad. They have temporarily taken up residence overseas. We haven’t met in years, so they want me to stay with them for some time. However, I have no idea how long I’ll be staying there.”
Fangzheng looked at Ding Yu with his Heavenly Eye open, but he saw nothing.
Fangzheng then looked at the merit on her. She had more merit than negative karma. Although it was unknown what she had done in the past, she was definitely a good person. Furthermore, she had no lack of good deeds. Fangzheng suddenly recalled the words he’d heard when he crossed the Formless Door. He was enlightened. The mission’s target was none other than Ding Yu!
“Satisfy the love of a kind person? This sure is a tough problem.” Fangzheng smiled bitterly in his heart.
“Must you leave?”
Ding Yu hugged her knees and looked into the distance. “What’s there to keep me from leaving? I always had a belief in the past, so I rejected them numerous times. After this, I doubt I have any reason to do so any longer. Perhaps bliss is awaiting me across the seas.”
Fangzheng fell silent.
As they conversed, Ding Yu’s cell phone suddenly rang. She looked down and immediately stood up. She patted away the sand and said, “They are here. Aiyah!”
Ding Yu’s feet went limp moments after she stood up. Her eyes went black as she nearly fell to the ground. Fangzheng quickly helped her up, allowing Ding Yu to find her footing. She smiled bitterly, “Standing up so suddenly after sitting for so long made me dizzy.”
Fangzheng nodded slightly, but he knew very well that Ding Yu was burning! Clearly it was not because she had been sitting for an extended period of time, but because she had a fever! However Fangzheng did not say a word. Although he had not had that much interaction with her, he knew that Ding Yu’s character was not one that would allow her to give up midway.
He looked in the direction where Ding Yu was looking and indeed, two figures appeared on the beach. From their figures, Fangzheng could guess they were likely Wang Lun and Shao Xinxiu. Both of them were walking beside each other. There was still a little gap between them. Although they could not be considered intimate, it was much better than before.
Ding Yu quickly threw a night stick to the ground and ran off with Fangzheng.
The night stick was thrown onto one of the arranged wooden blocks. It wasn’t bright, but in contrast to the pitch-black beach, it was very conspicuous.
When Wang Lun saw the light, he began speeding up his pace.