"Enough, Ma Juan. This was odd. Think about it, if not for that shoe, what would've happened to you? Some blood and a concussion might not be too severe but we are on a mountain peak. If you were seriously injured, we might not be able to bring you down the mountain in time for treatment." Fang Yunjing squatted down and patted Ma Juan on the back, hoping to help alleviate her anger. However, Fang Yunjing's eyes were filled with a suspicious look as she spoke. Just like Zhao Datong, she was pondering if the matter was pure coincidence or not.
Ma Juan was not a fool either. She had been in shock from her fall but now, having come around and giving it some thought, she shuddered, "Yunjing, Datong, Hu Han. Didn't that mon... abbot say that I would experience bloody misfortune? Then, this happened to me. If not for his shoe, wouldn't his prediction have come true? Tell me, is it coincidence or did he just peek into the future?"
"I don't know... I think it's better to believe than not? Still, I'm a little creeped out. If we're done looking around, let's quickly leave," Hu Han muttered.
Zhao Datong nodded. "I agree. But first... eh, Abbot, why did you come back out holding a rope?"
Fangzheng stared at Zhao Datong appearing to be in deep thought. "Amitabha, a monk does not lie. Patron, it is best you do not ask. My answer will only serve to anger you."
After his odd words, Fangzheng left the temple.
Ma Juan looked at his back and shouted, "Abbot, thanks for saving me with your shoe!"
"Mhmmm." Fangzheng replied tersely before leaving.
"He sure isn't polite... I'm now beginning to suspect it was a coincidence." Ma Juan showed the others a bitter smile.
Fang Yunjing shrugged. "Be it a coincidence or not, I think it's time we leave. I have a nagging feeling about this One Finger Temple. When we were scaling the mountain, didn't the villagers say that this place has been destitute for ages? Take a look around, how is any of this destitute? Also, how does that abbot resemble a monk? He is so odd... "
"He is indeed odd and so is the temple. When we first entered, we experienced calm and peacefulness. That monk also gives off an innocuous feeling. Is there any other temple you have visited that has such effects? I suspect that it's likely the effect of some enchanting aroma... Perhaps, this monk is a monster." Zhao Datong frowned as he stared around at the temple, he folded his arms.
"I think you've read too much fiction," Hu Han replied.
"Why do you care? Fine, let's leave."
Ma Juan said, "Aren't we pitching the tents here?"
"Let's do it somewhere else," Fang Yunjing muttered.
Ma Juan did not object so the group left the temple and prepared to descend the mountain.
Just as they reached the downward trail they bumped into Fangzheng, who had just returned.
"Patrons, shall you be taking your leave?" Although he was in no way surprised that they were leaving as he had already seen Zhao Datong's future.
The group shuddered when they saw his expression and those odd eyes of his, as though he saw everything, both them and what lay beyond.
Zhao Datong laughed and puffed out his chest, "That's right. It's almost dark. We need to descend the mountain before night falls. Abbot, we won't be disturbing you any longer."
Fangzheng nodded. "Alright. Take your time and be careful on your way down. The mountain trail is rather steep. Watch where you put your feet."
After saying that, Fangzheng glanced at Zhao Datong. After making Zhao Datong feel uneasy, he nodded to them and left.
"Datong, do you think that abbot has the hots for you?" Hu Han quipped.
Zhao Datong growled, "F**k off, I like women! It has to be at least someone on Yunjing's level."
Fang Yunjing blushed and muttered, "Don't speak such nonsense."
"Hehe... " Even thick-skinned Zhao Datong blushed slightly. Feeling somewhat guilty, he quickened his pace.
Zhao Datong led the way while Hu Han took the rear. There was nothing wrong with keeping the two ladies in the middle.
The quartet descended the mountain in an upbeat mood, quickly forgetting the monk's warning and the oddness of the temple.
Suddenly Zhao Datong screamed as he slipped and plummeted down the mountainside.
Hu Han, Fang Yunjing, and Ma Juan were a distance from him and failed to grab him in time. Seeing Zhao Datong fall off the cliff, the girls were momentarily stunned.
Hu Han was also stupefied. Yet he quickly reacted and ran over to investigate. He yelled, "Zhao Datong! Zhao Datong!"
Fang Yunjing and Ma Juan quickly came to their senses and ran over. With tears brimming in their eyes, they yelled, "Zhao Datong, are you there?"
"Zhao Datong, say something!"
"Zhao Datong, come on, don't do this to us!"
Although they were screaming, they knew very clearly that the steep cliff was a long way down. A fall was sure to be fatal. He was doomed...
Ma Juan was utterly out of her wits as she cursed, "That darn scammy monk. Wasn't he able to predict the future? He predicted my fall, so why couldn't he see that Datong would be in peril?" She sniffed as she tried to bite back the tears. "That fraud. Datong was right. Monks are all frauds... sniff."
A voice rang out at that moment.
"Stop your yelling. I'm not dead! I'm stuck in a tree!" It was Zhao Datong's voice. The trio was momentarily left in a daze before they immediately rejoiced.
Hu Han turned spirited as he shouted, "Grab well. Don't drop down. I'll go back up the mountain to the temple and ask for rope. I'll pull you back up in no time!"
Fang Yunjing yelled, "Right, right, right. Don't panic!"
"There's no need!" Zhao Datong shouted.
Ma Juan followed up, "What do you mean no need!? Hold on tight. Don't you fall down. I'll go down the mountain and get some help."
"No, just listen to me!"
"What do you mean no? Stop your nonsense! I'm getting that rope!" Hu Han turned around and wanted to start running.
Zhao Datong cursed and shouted, "That's not it. Just listen to me!"
Hu Han was just about to speak again when Fang Yunjing suddenly thought of something. She exclaimed, "Rope? Did you say you were getting a rope?"
Hu Han frowned and scratched his head, "That's right. What else would I get but rope?"
"I remember seeing the abbot from One Finger Temple take down a rope a few minutes ago. When he returned, the rope wasn't with him was it?" asked Fang Yunjing.
Ma Juan scratched her head. "True."
Hu Han also nodded.
Fang Yunjing said, "He must've left the rope behind. There's no need to climb back to the temple. Let's look around!"
"No need! Can't you hear what I'm saying?" Zhao Datong was close to tears. He was suspended in mid-air and his trousers had been torn apart. His balls were freezing because of the wind. Now he truly understood what people meant with "a refreshing wind!" It truly was f**king refreshing! However, the people standing above him refused to let him speak. He was panicking so much to the point of cursing.
"Go on," Fang Yunjing shouted.
"The rope is on my side! I have no idea what the rope is attached to but it's dangling right here next to me! I want you guys to see if the rope is secured! If it's secured, I'll start climbing. Shit, the tree is cracking. Hurry!" Zhao Datong looked at the rope that happened to be by his hand. He was close to tears, his friends had finally shut up and calmed down long enough for him to finish his sentence.
Fang Yunjing, Ma Juan, and Hu Han were dumbfounded! They snapped out of their reverie and quickly looked around. Indeed, there was a rope pulled tight on the ground. It was hidden amid the grass and would not have stood out if they didn't know about it. The end of the rope was tied to a huge tree's root near the cliff. It was in a dead knot and seemed more than secure enough!