Translator: CKtalon Editor: CKtalon
It was precisely because Black Nightshades weren’t artificially planted that they were extremely valuable. Usually kids would secretly pluck and hide them before flaunting them to the other kids and eating them right in front of the others. Making the other kids salivate… gave one a satisfaction that could not be described.
Fangzheng was very moved that Mengmeng was willing to share something so valuable with him. He ruffled Mengmeng’s head and said, “Thank you, Mengmeng.”
“You’re welcome.” Mengmeng took out two Black Stars from her tiny pocket and stuffed them into her mouth. Her eyes squinted as she ate.
Fangzheng could tell the little girl could not bear to eat them either. After all, the production of Black Stars was just too limited. They were gone once eaten. However, Black Stars could not be stored either as they easily spoiled. Therefore eating Black Stars was quite a painful process. One wanted to eat them as fast as possible, but could not bear to do so. Yet they were so tasty! It was truly a mix of happiness and pain.
Squirrel curiously got one and placed it into his mouth. Then, with a look of pleasant surprise, he secretly said to Red Boy, “Delicious!”
“It’s really nice, but there’s too few of them.” Red Boy had two, but he could not bring himself to take more. After all, there were just too few.
Monkey remained silent and when he secretly grabbed a few, he only ended up getting struck…
Lone Wolf wore a look of disparagement. He widened his mouth, and two Black Stars fell into his mouth. They weren’t even enough to stuff the holes between his teeth. He even accidentally swallowed them down with his saliva… He looked at everyone with a dumbfounded look as though he was saying: “What the heck is this? I haven’t even chewed yet, and they’re already in my stomach.”
Fangzheng ignored him.
At that moment, Squirrel rushed up to Fangzheng’s shoulder and mumbled into his ear.
Fangzheng was taken aback. “Really?”
Squirrel nodded his head vigorously.
Fangzheng was immediately thrilled as he said with a smile, “Mengmeng, do you want me to take you to search for more Black Stars?”
“Are there more? I have already searched the entire village. I even searched Uncle Song’s pigpen,” said Mengmeng very seriously.
Fangzheng was rendered speechless. This lass was truly wild! Indeed, although she looked adorable on the outside, hidden within was a little beast.
“Of course. Shall we?”
“Yes!” Mengmeng exclaimed immediately. However, she hesitated immediately and said, “But I need to tell Daddy.”
Fangzheng smiled. “Of course. Let’s go to your house.”
Sun Qiancheng adored his daughter. He obviously did not allow others to take her out of the village, but he was completely at ease if it was Fangzheng and immediately agreed. Therefore, Fangzheng carried Mengmeng and led his disciples straight for the Mt. Tongtian range.
The disciples of One Finger Monastery usually didn’t leave Mt. One Finger, especially Lone Wolf. As Guardian Protector, even if he went out to frolic, he would do so at the mountaintop and just quickly find somewhere to piss. Monkey was dedicated to Buddhism, so he chanted the scriptures, struck the bell, and cooked. Therefore, he did not have the time to wander about either. As for Red Boy, he was restricted and not allowed to travel as he pleased.
As for Squirrel, he was different. The little guy was basically the baby of Mt. One Finger. Everyone spoiled him, and the only job he needed to fulfil was to clear the spiderwebs along the ceiling beams. All he did other than that was to eat, sleep, and play. He was not restricted in any way.
Therefore, Squirrel often went to the back mountain, or he entered the Mt. Tongtian range to get some wild fruits or pine nuts. Of course, these would eventually benefit Fangzheng and company as well.
For this, Fangzheng had even specially prepared a pocket for Squirrel which he could tie to his body when he ventured out. It was to prevent him from stuffing the food into his mouth as it affected everyone’s appetite.
Hence, among the crowd, Squirrel was the one most familiar with Mt. Tongtian. Only when Squirrel ate the Black Stars did he realize that they were so delicious. The little guy then immediately recalled that there were copious amounts of Black Stars in a particular spot in Mt. Tongtian. Therefore he told Fangzheng about it, and everyone immediately organized themselves for a raid.
Everyone followed Squirrel, who led the way through a complex series of bends and turns. Finally, they arrived at a hollow and after getting past a boulder, Fangzheng’s eyes lit up.
He saw a swath of Black Stars hidden behind the boulder! They were much bigger than the ones Mengmeng had found. Furthermore, each branch had many fruits hanging on them!
“Wow!” Before Fangzheng could react, Mengmeng had already cried out in excitement. She struggled out of Fangzheng’s embrace and jumped to the ground. She charged forward and plucked the Black Stars by the handful before stuffing them into her mouth. Her face was soon plastered with purple liquid as a result. She had already forgotten everything with the delicacy before her very eyes. Her large eyes turned into crescents as she laughed happily. She was just short of rolling on the ground with joy.
Before she could, though, someone else beat her to it.
A white figure charged forward and devoured a large number of Black Stars in one mouthful. Then, with a howl, the figure rolled on the ground in excitement, crushing many Black Stars in the process.
“Darn dog! Scram!” Fangzheng, Squirrel, Red Boy, and Monkey felt the pinch when they saw this. They rushed over with sticks in hand.
Frightened, Lone Wolf dashed off with his tail between his legs. Everyone was chasing behind him, denouncing him in the process. This sight left Mengmeng bending over from laughter as she sat on the ground.
The tiny col was quickly filled with laughter.
As they sat on a grassy plain and took in the cool autumn breeze while enjoying the sights of the golden birches and cedar trees shedding their leaves, they munched on the cucumbers, tomatoes, some winter cherries, and Black Stars. Fangzheng suddenly realized how beautiful life was as he pinched Squirrel’s tummy, kicked Lone Wolf’s fat ass, and teased the little boy and girl beside him.
Stories were told, and even the scriptures were discussed as a day passed quickly.
After sending Mengmeng home, Fangzheng bade her farewell and returned to the mountain despite the lass’s eyes communicating that she did not want him to leave.
“Master, will we go down the mountain again tomorrow?” At dinner, Red Boy looked hopefully at Fangzheng.
Fangzheng said nonchalantly, “Today was the autumnal equinox, so we wasted the day away. Tomorrow, we will have to chant the scriptures and do what needs to be done. We would truly be nothing but locusts if we went down the mountain every day.”
Red Boy and company immediately found it a pity when they heard that.
Fangzheng pricked up his brows and said, “It’s not impossible if all of you wish to have delicious food for every meal, however.”
“How?” His disciples looked up in unison.
“Next spring, go down to the fields to work. Plant whatever you want to eat. You can then eat as much as you can.”
“Alright!” His disciples, who had no idea how tiring farming was, raised their hands or claws and unanimously passed the motion. Unbeknown to them, a particular sadistic monk was secretly revealing a smile. His scheme was working!
After the autumnal equinox, there was less time to rest. However, the winds turned colder by the day. The cold front from Siberia turned the trees, plantations, and corn golden. Leaves flew everywhere in the sky, fully bringing out the autumnal atmosphere.
Autumn was Fangzheng’s favorite season.