Translator: CKtalon Editor: CKtalon
After Fangzheng heard that, he immediately felt the urge to slap himself in the face. Wasn’t he asking for trouble? Why did he have to dig a hole for himself if it wasn’t there? And now, it would be akin to him forgetting where he had dug the hole; who knew when he would end up falling into it…
Fangzheng smiled bitterly. Since it had already happened, so be it. It could not be reversed anyway. Besides, Fangzheng guessed that it was unlikely he would end up triggering this latent danger.
Since the System didn’t care about his thoughts on eating, Fangzheng naturally felt happy.
In the evening, the sun slowly set in the west, going from a blinding fiery ball of light to an orange persimmon. In the meantime, a silverish-white full moon appeared in the sky.
Fangzheng stood at the edge of a cliff and watched the sun set and the moon rise. He allowed the evening wind to rustle his robes as though he would fly out at any moment with the wind. If one didn’t know better, one would think he was an immortal banished to the mortal realm.
“Master, how strange. Doesn’t the moon rise in the west? Why is it rising from the east?” Ever since Monkey turned intelligent, he enjoyed to ponder over questions and was more observant of the world.
Fangzheng held his arms behind him as he looked at the distant moon. “That’s because you never observed the trajectory of the moon in detail. In fact, the moon’s trajectory is not as immutable as the sun’s, which always rises in the east and sets in the west. The moon’s changes happen on a weekly basis. Typically, on the first day of the lunar calendar’s month, the moon will appear in between the sun and the Earth. With the moon’s dark back facing the Earth, it prevents us from seeing it. This is also known as the new moon stage.
“After a day or two, a crescent will appear in the west of the evening sky as a part of its face is illuminated by the setting sun. When this happens, the moon appears to rise in the west, but it is actually setting in the west together with the sun.
“Later, the moon’s location will move towards the east in a way relative to the Sun. The lit up portions will also increase over the days and by the fifth or sixth day, the moon will be half lit. That would be the first-quarter moon that has the western side lit and located south of the observer during sunset.
“After another seven days, which is the fifteenth of the lunar month, it will be the day of the full moon. That’s today. This time, because the moon has circled the Earth as well as because of Earth’s own rotation, changes occur. The sun will set in the west, but the full moon will be in the east. This results in the sun rising in the east and setting in the west.
“This cycle continues ad infinitum.”
“Oh, that’s how it is? Then what happens after the full moon? What happens to the other half of the moon after the full moon?” Monkey pressed curiously.
Fangzheng smiled. “When you have nothing to do, use the cell phone more with your Junior Brother Jingxin. Check things out if you don’t understand. After the full moon, the moon’s west-facing side will slowly be hidden, and after seven days, it will be a half moon once again, in a Waning Gibbous Phase. The waning moon rises in the east late into the night and continues to turn dark over the days, eventually becoming a waxing crescent hanging in the eastern sky at dawn. Its location in the sky will appear closer to the sun, and few parts of it will be lit. Eventually, it will rotate to a point in the same direction as the sun, turning the moon completely dark. When this is completed, the cycle restarts once more.”
“How fascinating.” Monkey scratched his head. He had read the things regarding the Earth, Moon, and the Sun before, so he understood what Fangzheng was saying.
However, someone didn’t understand a thing.
Squirrel tugged at Fangzheng’s ears out of curiosity. “Master, what you said is strange. If the sun and moon are both in the sky, won’t they collide?”
Fangzheng placed Squirrel on Monkey’s shoulder and said, “Jingzhen, explain to Jingkuan properly why the sun and moon will not collide.”
Faced with the curious wonder that was Squirrel, Fangzheng directly capitulated. The little fellow only ate until he was satiated before running out to find more food all day. After returning, he continued eating. Once tired, he slept, and he ate once he was awake again… There was little in his brain, so if the sun and moon were explained to him, he would definitely ask about the universe. If he continued asking, Fangzheng guessed that he might really end up stewing Squirrel.
Furthermore, the villagers had returned. The tables and stools were all set up as the women began busily setting up the plates. The men offered incense while some stayed outside the monastery, chatting and talking nonsense. The children ran everywhere, letting out screams. From time to time, there was the sound of firecrackers. The usually quiet Mt. One Finger mountaintop instantly turned quite noisy.
Amid the din, the moon rose higher and higher. Everyone’s excitement grew. Although they could not drink alcohol, this was the first time everyone was on the mountaintop, enjoying the moon, eating mooncakes, chatting, and beating brattish kids… Such days were quaint and refreshing.
Although Fangzheng was the host, he could not join the men in their chats full of bragging. He randomly chatted with people and answered any questions they might have. Once everyone was finished with their questions, Fangzheng secretly left the crowd. He sat far away and watched the bustling scene and felt his heart turn tranquil.
“No wonder Master often said that the tranquility obtained from a din is true tranquility, while the silence obtained from entering a deep mountain isn’t. Forcefully hiding to gain silence is not true silence. Only when the heart calms down in tranquility regardless of how chaotic the outside world is, is it true tranquility,” mumbled Fangzheng.
At that moment, he heard a series of laughter. Following that, a bunch of kids were seen chasing after Squirrel. Finally, Squirrel did a turn and burrowed into the grass as the brats began searching for him in the grass.
Before long, Fangzheng felt his trousers tighten. Squirrel crawled up his leg and said furtively, “Master, don’t say I’m here. These kids are too crazy… I can’t handle it. I’ll probably lose weight if I keep running like that. I can’t lose the autumn fat that took me so long to build up.”
Fangzheng also knew that many animals would fatten themselves up before winter by eating a lot of high calorie and high fat food. With large amounts of fat in their bodies, they could last through the winter. However, Squirrel clearly didn’t need to do so. He led warm, enjoyable days by the fireside and ate piping hot meals. What need did he have for any autumn fat?
From Fangzheng’s point of view, the little guy was becoming lazier and lazier.
Just then, Mengmeng came over, and Squirrel immediately hid.
Mengmeng squatted by Fangzheng’s side and leaned on Fangzheng’s leg like a kitten. Her eyes were closed, looking like she was tired. Mengmeng was still young after all, and she did not have the same overflowing energy as the bigger children. The adults were having a great time chatting, so their volume was extremely high. The little child couldn’t sleep there, so she came to Fangzheng’s side. The little girl said adorably, “Brother Fangzheng, Mengmeng is tired. Can you tell Mengmeng a story?”
Fangzheng was taken aback. Tell a story to a child? He had never thought of doing that before. He looked up at the moon and immediately smiled. “Alright. Why don’t I tell you a story about a beautiful elder sister?”
“A-alright!” Although Mengmeng was clapping, her eyes drooped even more.
Fangzheng said, “Mengmeng, do you know why everyone watches the moon on the fifteenth? I know you aren’t aware, but legend has it that there was a very beautiful woman in ancient times… Hou Yi shot down the nine suns… And then Chang’e accidentally ate the immortal elixir and tried her best to hold onto something without flying away, but in her haste, she grabbed a rabbit she kept. In the end, she and the rabbit flew onto the moon. Ancient women believed that the moon on the fifteenth was the biggest and brightest, at its closest to the Earth. They believed that if they prayed to the moon, they would be rewarded with Chang’e’s blessings and become as beautiful as she was. Therefore, many young ladies looked at the moon on this day, and it slowly turned into a tradition. Mengmeng?”