Translator: CKtalon Editor: CKtalon
Fangzheng also had the same question on his mind, so he didn’t rush to answer Red Boy. Instead, he walked out of the tree’s shade with Red Boy. The next moment, both of them felt the warmth of the sun. As the warm sunlight shone on them, the coldness and humidity vanished instantly. They felt their bodies warm up, just like when it was summer in the northeast.
“Master, where are we? This strange weather… I’d prefer it to be cold or hot, not something in between,” Red Boy said bitterly.
Fangzheng looked up into the sky. Looking at the sun which obviously looked higher than in northeastern China, he said, “We should be in the south.”
“South? Master, isn’t there no winter in the south? The sun is supposed to be forever high and warm. Why is it completely different?” Red Boy often used the cell phone, but he didn’t focus on things like geography. But occasionally, he would read descriptions of the south.
However Fangzheng wasn’t from the south either, nor was he an encyclopedia. Therefore he too wasn’t very certain of the answer. He shook his head and said, “I’m not sure. However, the sun is higher than in the north, so we should be in the south. This isn’t the main point. Let’s see where we are first.”
As he spoke, Fangzheng took out his cell phone and looked at their location on his GPS. He grinned and mumbled. “We are really in Jiangnan.”
“Jiangnan?” Red Boy was stunned.
Fangzheng said, “It’s just a general term, meaning south of the river. Our current location is in Hubei. Let’s go. It’s our first time here, and there are many things I’m unsure of as well.”
“Oh.” As Fangzheng spoke, a cloud floated over. Fangzheng guessed that it was about to rain. Taking a look at his cell phone, indeed, it was going to rain in the evening!
Fangzheng was wearing a white robe, and he had a doll-like young monk beside him. When the eye-catching duo walked on the road, many people turned their heads. It was difficult for people to not see them. However, Fangzheng was already used to such gazes. As for Red Boy? Back in One Finger Monastery, he was often ogled by visitors and teased. Therefore, he was even more thick-skinned than Fangzheng.
After a few turns both big and small, they arrived at a relatively bustling street. The street wasn’t that wide, and there were a lot of pedestrians. There were barricades in the middle of the road, and there were shops everywhere. With people coming and going, it was extremely lively.
Upon seeing this, Red Boy’s eyes lit up. He pulled Fangzheng and said pitifully, “Master, I can smell barbecue. We can’t eat meat, but we can eat some vegetables, right?”
“Jingxin, recite to me what the Five Pungent Spices are,” Fangzheng said with a composed look.
Red Boy bitterly said, “The Five Pungent Spices as stated by the Supplements to the Compendium of Materia Medica are also known as the Five Spices which refer to the sour, bitter, sweet, pungent, and salty flavors of the herbs. Practitioners deem onions, garlic, chives, brassica, and coriander as the Five Pungent Spices. Daoists deem chives, scallions, garlic, brassica, and coriander as the Five Pungent Spices. Buddhists deem garlic, spring onions, bulbous onions, chives, and onions as the Five Pungent Spices.” With that said, Red Boy’s eyes lit up suddenly. “Master, I’m not thinking about eating barbecue garlic or anything. Nor will I put on any chili. Eating some barbecued green vegetables should be fine, right?”
Fangzheng rubbed Red Boy’s head and brought him to a nearby barbecue stall. Just as Red Boy was about to rush forward, Fangzheng pulled him by his collar, only to have Red Boy look at him in confusion. Fangzheng said, “Take a look…”
Red Boy answered tersely as his saliva nearly flowed out from smelling the fragrance of the barbecue.
The barbecue stall had quite good business. Although it was still daytime, there were a lot of people coming over to barbecue vegetables and meat. There wasn’t much of a variety, but the food was prepared extremely quickly. The main vegetables offered were chives, eggplants, mushrooms, and cabbage. Red Boy knew there was no chance with chives, but eggplants, mushrooms, and cabbage could be eaten!
However, the moment he thought of the White Jade Cabbage, his enthusiasm waned. Therefore, he targeted the mushrooms and eggplants.
A huge eggplant was halved with a knife and placed on the rack to cook. Following that, different flavorings were lathered onto them… Red Boy swallowed his saliva as he looked down with tears in his eyes. The flavorings had chili and crushed garlic… Clearly, he couldn’t eat those.
Thankfully, the mushrooms didn’t have any of these. Even without the chili, they still looked delicious.
Unfortunately, when the mushrooms were done being barbecued, they were placed to the side. When they were served, Red Boy nearly cried. All the spices were placed on the same plate, and according to the rules…
“How about it?” Fangzheng asked.
Red Boy looked pitifully at Fangzheng. “Master…”
Fangzheng smiled. “Actually, I’m quite an expert at barbecuing. If you wish to have a barbecue, I can have one for you when we are back on the mountain.”
“Really?” Red Boy’s eyes lit up when he heard that.
Fangzheng smiled. “Of course…” He subconsciously recalled how he pilfered vegetables when he was young. Back then, he would steal the cabbage core on the vegetable farms, uproot immature carrots, and dig up baby potatoes… And these items naturally couldn’t be brought back to Mt. One Finger for Zen Master One Finger to see. However, he wished to eat them too, so what was he to do? The only way was to do it himself! He didn’t have salt, oil, sauces, or vinegar, but that didn’t matter. He just needed to trick a few kids to take some from their homes. As for not having pots and pans? That didn’t matter either. He could stack up some stones, stuff some timber into a make-shift oven, and light a fire to cook everything! There was no lack of twigs in the wild. Getting a few twigs and piercing the vegetables allowed him to have a fun time barbecuing. Although it sucked in the beginning, his technique slowly improved with practice.
Unfortunately, he had not barbecued anymore ever since he’d grown up. Thinking back to it, he was a little tempted. Therefore, he planned to do it within the next five days.
Upon receiving Fangzheng’s guarantee, Red Boy beamed. His original intention of having fun was forgotten as he kept asking, “Master, when are we returning to the mountain?”
Fangzheng did not stand on ceremony to hit him. “All you know is to eat! It’s simple if you wish to return. Help me finish the mission and find the mission target.”
“Okay.” Red Boy nodded.
At that moment, music sounded from a distance. It appeared to sound from a boombox, but the sound quality was quite lacking. Fangzheng’s expression turned odd when he heard the tune. Who in this day and age would sing such an ancient song? It was something he heard when he was still young, and it could be considered a memory of youth. However, it did not belong to his youth. It belonged more to the youth of Wang Yougui and company. To Fangzheng, the memories of that era were a little hazy.
As his thoughts drifted away, the singing approached.
“A vagabond somewhere outside is missing you so much.
“Footsteps taking him far away,
“Without a home,
“The winter wind carries the snowflakes,
“Let’s go, go, go.
“You have been gone for so many years,
“That the new grass of spring is sprouting now,
“Spring and summer has come again…”
“Master, what song is that? Why does it make me want to beat him up?” Red Boy frowned.