Translator: CKtalon Editor: CKtalon
Zhang Zi and Ying Zi suffered from insomnia that night as they kept thinking about how to move the huge bell away. However they could not think of a method to steal the bell quickly regardless of how much they racked their brains.
There was a fervid discussion in the room, but none of them noticed that under the roof squatted a squirrel.
“Master, that’s what they said.” Squirrel crouched on Fangzheng’s shoulder and said angrily.
Fangzheng smiled. “Death won’t happen if you don’t seek it. Since they wish to seek death, so be it.”
“Master, you are really clever, but there’s something I can’t understand. Can’t you–” Squirrel only finished half his sentence.
Fangzheng suddenly interrupted him. “Jingkuan, if you can’t figure something out, try your best to ponder over it yourself and learn how to think. Only then will you improve. If you ask me everything, what will you do when I’m not beside you? So you should spend time thinking about this question. Amitabha. I wonder what Jingzhen and the rest are doing.”
After Fangzheng said that, he quickly walked away as his head was covered in a layer of sweat. He had dodged a bullet! He obviously knew what Squirrel was about to ask. The problem was, he had no idea how they could steal the Yongle Bell either! Using a plane? Stop joking. China’s aviation rules were strict. To steal something with a plane was like being afraid no one would find out you were the one who stole it!
As for any other means? Fangzheng could not think of anything else other than using divine powers.
To be stumped by a disciple’s question, especially by the most naive and adorable disciple, would be too embarrassing. That was why Fangzheng had run off quickly.
The rest of the night went by uneventfully. The next day, Fangzheng ate his breakfast and hit the drum. After exhorting Red Boy and company to watch the monastery and be careful of thieves, he left the mountain.
Red Boy watched Fangzheng leave as he sensed the Dharmic powers in him. He beamed in joy. “I hope lots of thieves come. My metal pot is already unable to endure the thirst. Haha!”
Meanwhile, Uncle Da and company were waiting at the foot of the mountain.
After meeting each other, there was a simple introduction before they focused on the topic at hand.
“Time is tight. Let’s enter the mountains first,” said Uncle Da.
Fangzheng nodded as he led Uncle Da, Ying Zi, Zhang Zi, and Mute into Mt. Tongtian.
On the way, the quartet kept marveling at the bamboo forest, calling it a miracle. It was fascinating to see bamboo grow in the northeast.
However, they turned solemn once they entered Mt. Tongtian. They became very careful, afraid they would attract any wild beasts or attacks from venomous bugs or snakes. As for Fangzheng…
“Venerable One, walk slower. You walk so fast without testing the grasses. Aren’t you afraid of being bitten by snakes?” Ying Zi immediately warned Fangzheng when she saw him walk so quickly. Just following him was tiring.
Fangzheng smiled. “Amitabha. Patron, Buddha will protect This Penniless Monk. Snakes and other things won’t be able to harm This Penniless Monk.”
The moment his voice faded, a green beam darted out of the trees and headed straight for Fangzheng’s bald head!
“Be careful!” exclaimed Zhang Zi.
However there was someone even faster than Zhang Zi. It was none other than Uncle Da! He drew his short knife and slashed at the venomous snake!
Yet another hand was even faster than Uncle Da! It grabbed the venomous snake and dodged Uncle Da’s knife. Uncle Da’s pupils constricted for he knew he had encountered an expert! He traced the hand back to its owner and saw that it belonged to the young monk he thought little of! As for the venomous snake, it was being held by its head by Fangzheng. Its body kept writhing, but it failed to escape Fangzheng’s grasp.
“Venerable One, you have really quick reflexes.” Uncle Da looked at Fangzheng in astonishment.
Fangzheng bowed with a single hand. “Amitabha. Thank you for helping.”
Uncle Da blushed. He had indeed taken action, but he had failed to save Fangzheng and had nearly sliced off the monk’s hand. It would be embarrassing if word got out.
“Venerable One, hand me the green snake in your hand. We can stew this for lunch,” said Zhang Zi.
Fangzheng shook his head. “How can This Penniless Monk kill?”
“But it nearly killed you. Wouldn’t killing it be a way of paying it back?” asked Ying Zi.
Fangzheng smiled. “How can humans hold grudges against a snake?” With that said, he said to the green snake in his hand. “Little guy, you are quite small, but your ambitions are huge. By biting This Penniless Monk, were you planning on eating This Penniless Monk? This Penniless Monk will not spare you if you dare act rashly in the future. Quickly leave and make sure not to attack humans.”
“Haha, Venerable One, can a snake understand what you say?” laughed Ying Zi as she covered her mouth.
“I’ve seen many people trying to act mysterious before, but this is the first time I’m seeing someone be so good at it.” Zhang Zi laughed as well. Although Fangzheng’s hand had been quick, indicating that he was skilled, his action of speaking to a snake was just too amusing.
However he could not laugh any longer the next moment.
The green snake suddenly raised itself and bowed at Fangzheng like a person. After bowing thrice, it turned and slithered into the grass!
“Holy sh*t! Did that snake just bow?!” said Zhang Zi confounded.
Ying Zi gulped a mouthful of saliva. “Could it be a demonic spirit? Uncle Da, what happened? Can you explain?”
The corner of Uncle Da’s mouth twitched. He also wished to explain, but despite his wealth of knowledge, he had never seen something so odd! Other than the snake being a demonic spirit or the monk being the spirit, he had no idea how it could be explained. Was he to give the answers given by experts—mass hallucination? Uncle Da could do nothing but look at Fangzheng. “Abbot, might you explain it to us?”
Fangzheng said with a radiant look. “The myriad beings are intelligent. It probably sensed the benevolence This Penniless Monk showed to it. It knew how to show its gratitude after surviving a calamity.”
With that said, even Mute who remained silent all this while rolled his eyes at Fangzheng. It was as though he wished to grind up the darn monk who just spoke nonsense with his rolling eyeball.
Uncle Da did not probe further since Fangzheng did not elaborate. However, he became more wary of Fangzheng. He also regretted hiring Fangzheng to guide them into the mountains. His eyes were a little heavy and sinister, and it was unknown what he was scheming…
“Venerable One’s benevolence is a good thing. Please lead the way. We wish to reach the mountaintop by today.” Uncle Da looked up and pointed at the peak of a mountain.
Fangzheng nodded as he led the way in front.
“Mute, in a while…” Uncle Da mumbled softly to Mute who acknowledged his instructions. A cold glint flashed in his narrowed eyes.
Zhang Zi and Ying Zi walked in the back as Ying Zi said, “This monk is somewhat odd.”
“Why do I find everyone on this mountain odd?” Zhang Zi thought of the wolf that had shown him contempt. For some reason, he began worrying for Boss Xiong and the rest.
After entering Mt. Tongtian, Fangzheng had no choice but to stop to wait for Uncle Da and company. Although Uncle Da and company were professionals at traveling through rough terrain, a mountainous forest was still a forest. It was not a scenic spot. There were fallen trees, thistles, and thorns. A lot of the time their destination could be seen, but it was unreachable by foot. Every ten plus meters required them to make a detour. Every step had to be taken cautiously as they remained wary every second.
As for Fangzheng, he did not need to do so. The White Lunar Monk Robe protected him from any critter or insect! If they had what it takes, let them bite at him! It was not like they could bite through him, anyway.