Translator: CKtalon Editor: CKtalon
Dog Song looked at Red Boy like he was a monster as he mumbled. “This kid sure has a loud voice…”
Little did he know that for a demon, Red Boy’s voice was considered soft.
After Red Boy’s shout, the others also let loose and shouted.
Lone Wolf let out a long howl, and Monkey let out the unique chatter of a monkey. As for Squirrel…
Squirrel looked at Fangzheng, looking a little bashful. “Master, how do I shout?”
“You don’t know how?” Fangzheng was surprised. But on careful thought, he had indeed never heard Squirrel shout.
Squirrel said, feeling a little conflicted, “Of course I can shout. Squirrels aren’t mute, but I think it sounds rather stupid. Can I shout?”
Fangzheng looked at the villagers. To have a Squirrel shout? It would probably give everyone a fright. But on second thought, with so many people shouting, who would know whose shout it was? Therefore he patted Squirrel on the head and said, “Wait a moment.”
Fangzheng ran forward and carried Red Boy, who was shouting at the top of his lungs in a somewhat addicted state. He placed him on the ground, in front of Squirrel. Together with Lone Wolf and Monkey by Squirrel’s side, while he took the rear, he lifted Squirrel up and said with a smile, “Let’s shout together. I’ll count down. Then, we can shout together.”
The few disciples instantly turned excited when they heard that as they nodded incessantly.
“3, 2, 1!”
“Ah!” Red Boy’s voice overwhelmed everyone’s as Fangzheng’s voice ensured everything was fine. Squirrel opened his mouth wide and shouted, and as he shouted, he realized everyone continued shouting. So he hurriedly resumed shouting too. And indeed, the more he shouted, the more addictive it became. He desperately kept at it until—thud!
“Master, why did Junior Brother faint? Is he sick?” Lone Wolf asked with worry plastered all over his face.
Fangzheng smiled. “He’s fine. He kept shouting until he was short of breath. This little guy’s head is so small, yet he was trying to compete with us in terms of lung capacity. It would be a surprise if he didn’t faint. Just let him sleep. He will be fine after some time.”
Lone Wolf, Monkey, and Red Boy heaved sighs of relief.
After the shouting, everyone gathered on the mountaintop for a meal.
The villagers had brought plenty to eat. There were also clothes, and even huge pots and condiments. All the necessary cutlery had been thought of as well!
After choosing the flattest ground, they set up the pots, lit the fire, and began cooking.
People busied themselves, and those who had nothing to do were left to their own devices or watched after the children. Instantly, the mountaintop was bustling.
Of course, there were a number of people who stood at the mountaintop, looking at the swath of red leaves on the other end of Mt. Tongtian. The Tongtian mountain range’s main peak was like a line that split the mountain into two. On one side were towering ancient pine trees, and on the other end were maple trees! As the maple trees were blown by the autumn wind, their red and yellow colors dyed half the mountain with specks of shimmering gold. It was truly a beautiful sight to behold.
Fangzheng took the lead as he brought Mengmeng and the kids to the back mountain. There, they took photos, played, and had a great time.
Around noon, he brought the kids who still hadn’t had enough back for lunch.
Just as they were about to begin digging in, he suddenly heard Mengmeng shout. “Wow! What’s that? It’s so bright!”
Fangzheng looked over and saw that towards the northeast, there was an area originally shrouded in fog. For some reason, the fog had dispersed, revealing a greenish-blue lake that resembled a gem! As the lake reflected the sunlight, it sparkled with golden beams of light. It was no wonder Mengmeng didn’t recognize the lake…
Fangzheng asked, “Patron Tan, that’s Ganfanpen, right?”
“Yes, that’s Ganfanpen. I never expected us to actually see it. It looks like our luck is pretty good. Our coming year will be a good one!” Tan Juguo chuckled.
However, Fangzheng noticed a look of worry in Tan Juguo’s eyes. He went close and sat by his side without saying a word.
When everyone dispersed, Tan Juguo tapped his smoke pipe and looked into the distant Ganfanpen. He let out a long sigh and said, “In the past, every time the thick fog dispersed, people would take the risk to enter Ganfanpen. The people who enter never return. One day, Old Sun brought his students with him and entered around this time. They said they were going in to find rare plants and animals. In the end, they never returned… Thankfully, the country has restricted entry; otherwise, who knows how many people would be dying in there.”
When Fangzheng heard that, he pressed his palms together. “Amitabha.”
Tan Juguo continued. “Tell me, why would the heavens make such a dangerous place? Every year, so many people die because of it. What is it up to? Does Heaven really hold the virtue of cherishing life?”
With that said, Tan Juguo stared at Fangzheng, as though he was asking him.
Fangzheng thought for a moment and shook his head and said, “Heaven and Earth do not act out of anything like the wish to be benevolent. They deal with all things just as the dogs of grass are dealt with. It is the same for all things in the world. Just as the abandoned dogs of grass, life and death mean nothing to it. 1 Therefore, compared to saying that the heavens have the virtue of cherishing life, it’s better to say that humans entrust a form of hope in the heavens.”
“I’ve met several monks in my life, but only you and Zen Master One Finger say things rather differently,” said Tan Juguo with a laugh.
Fangzheng shook his head. “There’s no right or wrong answer to this matter. It can only be said that it’s a result of different viewpoints. Just like how a brick can look different in shape from different angles, it’s hard to tell who is right or wrong.”
Tan Juguo nodded slightly. He liked Fangzheng’s attitude. He knew how to express his own views, but he never belittled the viewpoints of others.
At that moment, Wang Yougui came over and asked, “Were you talking about Ganfanpen?”
Wang Yougui said, “According to what I know, there are many places in the northeast called Ganfanpen.”
Tan Juguo laughed. “I know. This is also why those experts called this the Thousand Fog Lakes. The name Ganfanpen is indeed too ordinary. But this Ganfanpen is different. According to what Old Sun said back then, this Ganfanpen might very well be the result of the impact of a small meteorite. The magnetic fields inside are chaotic, so scientific equipment isn’t capable of entry. Even people are affected when they enter.”
“Even people?” Fangzheng was taken aback. This sounded similar to his A Golden Millet Dream, didn’t it?
“It’s just a speculation. To this day, no one has given a good explanation,” said Tan Juguo.
At that moment, the villagers were done with their picnic. They stored away their trash in bags and prepared to descend the mountain.
Fangzheng turned back to take a glance in the direction of Ganfanpen before he followed Tan Juguo and company down.
After returning to One Finger Monastery, Fangzheng’s day went back on track. He didn’t pay too much attention to the situation with Ganfanpen.
“Master, aren’t you curious when the old secretary made it sound so mysterious? What could possibly be inside that Ganfanpen? Don’t you want to take a look? If you solve an unsolvable mystery, our One Finger Monastery will really be in the limelight,” Red Boy came over and asked.