Translator: CKtalon Editor: CKtalon
Fangzheng was somewhat stirred when he heard that, but on second thought, he gave up. Instead he asked in return, “So what would happen if the mystery was solved?”
“If the mystery was resolved, tourism could be developed. With people coming, there would be money to be earned. Wouldn’t that make the people living nearby rich?” Red Boy said matter-of-factly.
Fangzheng chuckled and looked at Lone Wolf who had a downtrodden look. “Jingfa, what’s your take on this?”
Lone Wolf yawned and said, “When I was young, I believed the mountain to be the entire world. When I grew up, I realized that the mountain had shrunk. Our hunting grounds seemed to have many two-legged monsters who killed wolves, boars, and rabbits. Basically, our prey was swept clean. Quite a number of wolves in the pack died as a result. We had no choice but to run deeper into the mountains, but the mountain really was shrinking…”
Having said that, Lone Wolf looked up and said, “The space left for wild animals is shrinking, so leave them some. This world isn’t only inhabited by humans.”
The moment that was said, Fangzheng looked at Lone Wolf in astonishment. He never expected this silly guy to have such deep thoughts on the matter!
At this point, Monkey added. “I agree with Senior Brother’s point of view. In the past, the produce on Mt. Baiyun was rich. There were all sorts of wild fruits, more than enough for us to fill our stomachs with. But later on, humans came to the mountain. Once the fruits ripened, the humans would pluck them clean. Many monkeys died of starvation due to having nothing to eat. Some failed to accumulate enough fat for the winter and froze to death. Back then, it was because I had no other choice that I went to Baiyun Monastery to steal food… If possible, leave that place as it is. Humans already occupy the best lands in the world. There’s no reason to destroy everything.”
Squirrel raised his paws as well and said, “Yes, yes, yes! I’m telling you. Until this day, there are still humans snatching pine nuts from me! In the past, I could easily get a bag of them. Nowadays, many people enter the mountains for pine nuts. If I want some pine nuts, I have to go really far. From time to time, I’ll encounter a snake or something, and I even have to run. It’s exhausting.”
Upon hearing this, Fangzheng looked at Red Boy and asked, “Do you still think that cracking an unresolved mystery and developing it into a tourist attraction is a meritorious deed?”
Red Boy was left at a loss for words. However, he doubled down not to lose face. “Well… Developing it doesn’t mean that the wild animals have to be chased away. Aren’t there tourist attractions with their original states maintained? Also… If we don’t crack this unresolved mystery, are we going to sit back and watch people enter only to die?”
Fangzheng patted Red Boy on the head and said, “Once developed, whether the original state is preserved or not, if humans entered, it would only disrupt the original order. That’s ultimately not right. As for those who ended up dying, we can’t do anything about those past cases. While from now on, it’s already being monitored by the country. Do you think we are stronger than the country? According to Patron Tan, there haven’t been any lives lost in the past two years. Alright, don’t let yourself be plagued by groundless worries. Sometimes, it’s more pragmatic to just fetch some water.”
After sending Red Boy away, Fangzheng continued reading the Buddhist scriptures in peace. As for Ganfanpen, he completely let it go.
Two days quickly passed, and since it had already been four days in total, Fangzheng climbed into the huge water vat and looked at the White Jade Cabbage inside. Most of its water had been squeezed out, but the water was insufficient to completely submerge the White Jade Cabbage. Therefore Fangzheng poured some Unrooted Clean Aqua into the vat. After checking on the White Jade Cabbage’s pickling progress, he clapped his hands in satisfaction and continued reading his scriptures.
On this day, the sound of footsteps was heard outside One Finger Monastery. Fangzheng looked over and saw Tan Juguo and Wang Yougui walking over with serious expressions. After greeting him, they silently entered the temple hall to pay their respects to Buddha. It was apparent from their faces that something had happened. It was apparently serious enough that even they couldn’t keep calm despite their usual temperaments. They even had to come pray to Buddha for peace of mind.
After the two were done paying their respects to Buddha, they came out. Fangzheng went forward and asked, “Patrons, did something happen?”
Tan Juguo sighed. “Something did happen. Something huge has happened over at Ganfanpen.”
“Oh?” Fangzheng asked in puzzlement, “Aren’t the routes sealed? Did someone sneak in and end up in trouble?”
“No, this matter is a little weird.” Wang Yougui said with a heavy expression, “No one entered Ganfanpen… But the villagers in the village about a kilometer away beside it have been having a lot of cases of sudden fainting. It wasn’t anything at first, but the people who went to help ended up fainting one after another as well. It’s unknown what kind of sorcery is causing this… It’s weird when you think of it, though, because Old Fifth Gao, for example, was totally fine when he went there. He dragged out the three people who had fainted. Now the three of them are in the hospital. Their lives aren’t in danger, but this situation has caused people to feel uneasy. Some people said that the demons in Ganfanpen are out to eat humans. Others say that the demonic aura inside has leaked out to harm people and that only people with strong virility and righteousness are not affected.”
Fangzheng rolled his eyes when he heard that as he immediately said inwardly, “What rubbish!”
However, Fangzheng didn’t say it out loud. He refused to believe it since he knew Buddhist philosophy. He also knew what sort of environment would produce monsters. In a crappy environment like Earth, even if a monster were to end up here, it would probably quickly devolve into an ordinary beast. Other than a great demon like Red Boy, the typical mountain spirit or night succubus could not withstand the crappy environment of this world. It was just like humans being in an environment with low oxygen content. Death would only be a matter of time.
However, Fangzheng couldn’t say this to Tan Juguo and Wang Yougui. All he did was press his palms together. “Amitabha. Patrons, are you afraid the demonic aura will come to One Finger Village?”
Wang Yougui sighed. “We are indeed a little afraid. There have been several cases in the past two days. The different villages are now all on high alert. Now, Old Fifth Gao is really popular. Many villages are inviting him to preside over them. Our One Finger Village is still quite a distance away, but we need to keep our vigilance up nonetheless. There’s really no harm doing so anyway. The young men in our village are ready to take orders at any time. We just aren’t sure if they can be like Old Fifth Gao who can stand unafraid in front of the demonic aura. Eh, wait a second. Abbot Fangzheng, you shouldn’t be afraid, right?”
Fangzheng smiled. “Patron, don’t worry. If demonic auras were to really come, This Penniless Monk would naturally do something.”
Upon hearing Fangzheng say that, Wang Yougui immediately heaved a sigh of relief. He smiled and said, “Indeed. Our village has you, so there’s no need to be afraid. Besides, our village has the distance of the entire Tongtian mountain range separating us from Ganfanpen. There’s no way for that demonic aura to cross the mountains all the way to us, right?”
Fangzheng nodded in acknowledgment before sending the two off.
“Master, are we still not going to do a thing with this development?” Red Boy clearly looked a little excited.
Fangzheng rolled his eyes at him. “What’s all that excitement of yours for?”
Author Note: Some people ask if Ganfanpen really exists. The answer is yes. There is indeed a Ganfanpen in the Changbai Mountains. However, there are many places called Ganfanpen. Legend has it that only one Ganfanpen is dangerous.