Translator: CKtalon Editor: CKtalon
“It was alright. Just a bit over a hundred yuan for a box.” When Wang Yougui said that, he wore a complacent look. For a box of four mooncakes to cost over a hundred, those were definitely some extravagant mooncakes. At the very least, he wouldn’t bear eating them himself. Then he asked Dog Song, “What kind of mooncakes are yours?”
Dog Song chuckled. “I spent a huge sum. I bought the best mooncakes there were. They were made with backyard chicken eggs, imported ingredients, and handmade by a hired chef! Just one box cost more than three hundred!”
Upon hearing that, Shao Min, Zhao Gang, and Xue Zong were astounded. Someone was actually going up the mountain to deliver mooncakes to the monk? For real?
Shao Min could not help but mumble, “There’s no way there’s such a coincidence, right? Could he have heard our complaints and found someone to put on an act for us? This monk cares too much about his face.”
Xue Zong knitted his brows as well. What Shao Min said wasn’t impossible. After all, young adults definitely cared a lot about face.
Zhao Gang was in no rush to make a conclusion as he said, “Continue watching.”
Shao Min and Xue Zong were not in a hurry either. They decided to stay a while and watch. Shao Min sneered and said, “I want to see how they will carry out this act! For a monastery like Daming Monastery, dozens if not a hundred devotees gift them mooncakes. Is he trying to make up the numbers with two people? Hmph.”
Xue Zong and Zhao Gang did not say a word.
“Heh, nice going. You sure are generous. It looks like you’ve made quite a bit of money recently,” said Wang Yougui with a smile.
Dog Song smiled ruefully. “Stop teasing me. It’s also because it’s for Abbot Fangzheng. I wouldn’t bear buying something so expensive for myself.”
Wang Yougui nodded and said, “Everyone knows very well the reason behind our village’s current state this year. Out of the neighboring villages, none of them were as poor as ours. But this year? Thanks to Fangzheng, our village has really lifted itself out of poverty. We are even starting to become rich. Frost Bamboo has brought us tourism and rural tourism. The bamboo carvings have given us large numbers of orders. All the families are busy, and everyone benefits monetarily from it. It could be said that our village is number one among all the neighboring villages now! It’s necessary we thank him.”
Dog Song nodded. “That’s right. I was some hooligan in the past. Now, I’m a role model. What I owe him cannot be returned.”
“Their acting sure is good.” Shao Min mumbled inwardly.
At that moment, another person came. It was Sun Qiancheng with Mengmeng. Mengmeng was eating a mooncake which she was holding in her hand. Her face and clothes were covered in mooncake crumbs. Her tiny face with baby fat cheeks was ruddy as her two plaints came flowing down. She looked especially adorable. Sun Qiancheng had a huge bag of mooncakes in his hand. Most importantly, Sun Qiancheng had a woman behind her.
Dog Song pricked up his brows when he saw this. He said in a pleasant surprise, “Hey, isn’t this Sister-in-law? Are you back to see Mengmeng for the festivities?”
The woman nodded. “That’s right. I’m back to see Mengmeng. I heard that Qiangcheng changed for the better immensely, that his business was going well, etc. So I came back to take a look.”
“Haha, so what do you think after seeing it?” Dog Song said with a smile.
“What else? Great!” When the woman said that, she smiled especially happily before continuing. “Before returning, I always thought Qiancheng was bragging, but I never expected our village would be doing so well. This bamboo carving and rural tourism thing really brings great business. How nice!”
The woman had never been to school. Her voice was quite loud, and she spoke rather forcefully.
Dog Song laughed out loud. “I long since told you our village was no longer the same! By the way, Sister-in-law, are you still returning to the south to work after the festivities?”
“What for!? The factory is like an unending grind. I work to exhaustion only to earn two to three thousand yuan. That can now easily be earned here at home.” The woman rolled her eyes at Dog Song.
Dog Song said excitedly, “So you mean, you’re staying?”
“Yes! I’m not leaving! I’ll stay at home with Mengmeng and Old Sun,” the woman answered candidly.
Wang Yougui, Dog Song, and Sun Qiancheng all smiled. It was very common for families like Sun Qiancheng’s family to have a couple get separated. Many families had the entire family together during the farming season, but once the farm work entered a lull, one of the family members would head out to the factories to work so as to make money for the family. Some would even have the entire family head out to work. Furthermore, once their child left for work or studies, some would rather go out to work overtime daily then return to suffer while working the farms. For a period, the village would have fewer people, especially able young adults, which made the village appear rather desolate.
However, as the benefits which Frost Bamboo and bamboo carvings brought to the village increased, more and more men, women, and children were returning to the villages. Coupled with the apprentices that came from other villages, One Finger Village instantly became quite bustling.
And the one most deeply aware of this was none other than the Village Chief Wang Yougui! He had wished to improve the village into moderate prosperity his entire life. However, with time, the village’s population dropped and just when he was almost in despair, things changed for the better. With the present-day results, Wang Yougui would even chuckle in his sleep. At every village chief meeting or gathering, he would appear especially spirited. He was the envy of many.
When Dog Song asked, it turned out Sun Qiancheng was also there to deliver mooncakes.
Zhao Gang mumbled. “It looks real.”
“What do you mean real? If that monk Fangzheng is as awesome as they said, would only a few people from such a huge village come? I think it’s just an act,” said Shao Min.
Just as she finished her sentence, Dog Song exclaimed, “Aiyah! Chen Jin, you came too? Don’t tell me you are here to deliver mooncakes?”
“Obviously. Fangzheng saved our entire family. I naturally have to gift him some mooncakes for the festivities,” joked Chen Jin with a rebuking tone.
Shao Min fell silent. Chen Jin’s family was huge. It was a family of five comprising of Chen Jin and his wife, his son, daughter-in-law, and his grandson. It didn’t look like an act.
“Could that monk really… have such a high standing among the people? He’s not some fake monk?” Shao Min’s heart weighed with her doubts.
At that moment, Zhao Gang patted Shao Min’s shoulders and gestured into the distance.
Shao Min looked over and saw that a huge group of people were coming out of the village. All of them carried bags of various sizes. They carried fruits, beverages, vegetables, and snacks. Although they all carried something different, there was one thing in common. Everyone had a gift box of mooncakes! And the packaging definitely didn’t look cheap!
When these people came, Dog Song and company greeted them one after another. Everyone began chatting and indeed, everyone was there to gift mooncakes to Fangzheng. The reason why they didn’t head up the mountain early in the morning was that they were busy with their farm work back home. As it was autumn, there was more farm work. Even during a festival, they needed to finish their work.
Upon hearing all of this, Shao Min wore a bitter look. If one or two people could be said to be actors, it was clearly impossible for so many people to be acting. Who would invite so many people to put on an act for three people!?
Shao Min suddenly realized that she might have made a mistake. Her assumptions had made her misjudge and maligne the monk.
When Xue Zong saw Shao Min’s state, he hugged her gently and whispered, “These are all villagers from One Finger Village, and it’s like they’re all family. So, it’s normal that they share a good relationship. Besides, you were doing it out of good intentions. Just don’t be too rash in the future.”
Shao Min nodded slightly. She did feel a little better when she heard that they were villagers and were akin to family. This meant that Fangzheng’s influence wasn’t that great. It was still focused on a single village. This reduced the blow inflicted on her. After all, offending an unknown monk was different from offending a famous master.
But the moment that was said, more people came from a distance.
“Hey, isn’t that Zhao Baolin’s family from Hongtang Village?”
“Hehe, isn’t that the prince of anti-gambling from our neighboring village?”
“Haha, I see Fatty and Monkey again. Those two guys have changed cars again!”
“Professor Jiang and his disciples are here too! I thought they returned for the festivities and wouldn’t be coming. But here they are with gifts. Man, this will be a blast.”
Everyone chatted as names after names were thrown out. Xue Zong and Shao Min blushed in embarrassment. They had really belittled Fangzheng.
Especially when Xue Zong saw Guan Xiangfeng walking behind Jiang Zhou, his brows pricked up even higher. “I think I see Guan Xiangfeng from the Guan family there? Why would this guy who always has his nose up in the air be here? I heard that he has been studying bamboo carving from a master… Could it be?”
“Isn’t Jiang Zhou our province’s famous carving master? Why is he here too? And he’s here to gift Abbot Fangzheng mooncakes?” Zhao Gang exclaimed in surprise.
If the ones from before were villagers, it would only prove that Fangzheng was a good person. But with these people appearing, it accentuated Fangzheng’s standing immediately! It implied that he was definitely a master; if not, why would another master come bearing gifts?
Having seen this, Shao Min’s eyes were wavering. She finally gritted her teeth and rushed straight for Guan Xiangfeng.
“Eh? Shao Min, why are you here?” Guan Xiangfeng was stunned when he saw the young woman appear suddenly.
“Let me ask you a question. What’s with the bodhi tree on the mountain? Won’t it die from the cold during winter?” Shao Min went straight to the point.
Guan Xiangfeng had been in the village for quite a while, so he naturally knew the situation of One Finger Monastery very well. He laughed. “Die from the cold? Stop kidding. That tree has been on the mountain for years. It froze to death once but suddenly revived last winter. Its leaves are luxuriant, even more luxuriant than the old trees grown natively in the northeast. It’s one of the huge miracles of One Finger Monastery.”
“Really? You aren’t lying to me?” Shao Min asked with her face flushed red.
“Why would I? Everyone around here knows that. You can ask anyone if you don’t believe me. I’m telling you, Abbot Fangzheng is a master! An otherworldly master. His carving skills are even better than my master’s. We are even learning bamboo carving from him.” Guan Xiangfeng was fully convinced by Fangzheng’s abilities and revered him greatly.
His words were also heard by Xue Zong and Zhao Gang who came walking over.
The trio exchanged looks, and the two men saw the bitterness in Shao Min’s eyes.
Seeing how the villagers were heading up the mountain with bags of different sizes, Xue Zong patted Shao Min on the shoulder. “Alright, stop thinking about it. Let’s go.”
Shao Min gritted her teeth and finally stamped her feet. “No, I want to go up the mountain!”
“Shao Min, aren’t you done yet?” Zhao Gang was left completely speechless.
Xue Zong wore a look of helplessness as well.
“Who said I’m going up to stir trouble. I might have a bad temper, but I’m not unreasonable! Since I’m wrong, I’m wrong. I shouldn’t have been so fierce against the monk. Since it’s my fault, can’t I apologize?” With that said, Shao Min went up the mountain.
Zhao Gang and Xue Zong exchanged looks and laughed. Immediately, they called out for her and followed her up the mountain.