Translator: CKtalon Editor: CKtalon
As Fangzheng spoke, he began pouring some soy sauce and vinegar into his bowl.
“Master, you mentioned so many sauces and condiments, but why do we only have soy sauce and vinegar? Also, there’s no meat in these dumplings, right? It just has cabbage leaves in it…” Squirrel asked, rather displeased.
Fangzheng answered in all seriousness, “That’s because we are monks. Most of the condiments are part of the Five Pungent Spices, things that are extremely stimulating. We can’t eat those, so we can only make do with what we have. As for the filling, are you saying you’d like some meat then? Are you out of your mind?”
When the disciples thought about it, that did seem to be the case. The villagers knew that it was food for monks, so they didn’t give them any meat-filled dumplings. With this in mind, all of them put on miserable expressions. Being a monk sure was tough!
Fangzheng coughed dryly. “You can choose not to eat if you find it so miserable.”
The moment that was said, the sound of cutlery appeared with a cling. The disciples sat up and picked up their bowls and chopsticks. Eating time!
Lone Wolf didn’t have hands, so all he could do was open his mouth and eat from a basin. The guy raised his ass as he burrowed his head into the basin. He enjoyed himself, and the sounds he made while wolfing down the food made everyone feel like slapping his butt.
Monkey learned from Fangzheng and poured some soy sauce and a little vinegar. After all, he was an intelligent animal and had nimble limbs. His control was perfect as he picked up a dumpling and placed it into his mouth. He beamed as he ate it, adding some vinegar from time to time to adjust the taste.
Red Boy was the same. However, the brat deliberately chose the nice-looking dumplings. Although he was tiny, he was fast and accurate, nearly getting every dumpling he wanted. It infuriated Squirrel who spotted his target several times, only to miss when he reached out his paw. Finally, in his anxiousness, he held a chopstick with one paw and used both hands at the same time. Like that, he could pick up some dumplings, but it wasn’t too stable of a method.
When the two chopsticks poked out from under his armpits, they looked like spears, with the spearheads clamping the dumplings. He raised them high above his head one by one and widened his mouth as he slowly released his grip on the chopsticks. As the dumpling slid down along the chopsticks, a blissful smile surfaced in his eyes when he saw the wheat head-shaped dumpling about to enter his mouth.
The next moment…
A pair of chopsticks shot over and took the dumpling away!
At that instant, Squirrel flared up! He turned his head and saw Red Boy eating delightfully. In his anger, Squirrel wailed. “Master! He’s being a bully! Are you just going to let him?”
Red Boy rolled his eyes. “Why are you looking at me? The one who did it was Jingzhen, not me.”
Squirrel was taken aback as he looked at Monkey. Indeed, the fellow was dipping a wheat head-shaped dumpling into the sauce in preparation to eat.
Squirrel looked at Fangzheng with tears welling in his eyes.
Upon seeing this, Fangzheng frowned and rapped the table. “Were all of you wondering why I was angry last night?”
The moment that was said, Lone Wolf, Monkey, Squirrel, and Red Boy stopped in their tracks, especially Lone Wolf. His face was slathered with fillings and oil, and his gaze looked silly. However, he still looked serious because of the topic at hand.
When Fangzheng saw that everyone was looking over, he slowly explained. “I once told all of you that you are fellow disciples and I’m your master. We should be each other’s closest people, and we should be most united as we help each other. But your actions yesterday made me very unhappy. Making a fool out of me or pulling my leg is still fine, but after I saw through you, all of you began betraying each other. That wasn’t funny for me.”
“Uh…” Lone Wolf’s face blushed red when he heard that. Even though he was the Eldest Senior Brother, hadn’t he been the one to lead the betrayal?
Squirrel, Monkey, and Red Boy also blushed. At that moment, they realized the reason for Fangzheng’s wrath. Thinking back to it, their prank yesterday did seem to have been a little overboard. They lowered their heads and said, “Master, we were wrong.”
Monkey looked at the wheat head dumpling in his bowl before picking it up to give it to Squirrel.
Squirrel pressed his palms together. “Junior Brother, you have it. I still have some in my bowl.”
Squirrel smiled as well.
Fangzheng smiled too.
But less than three minutes after their smiling, they heard Squirrel wail. “There’s none left! Boohoo! I can’t find a second wheat head dumpling despite there having been so many dumplings. Boohoo!”
Fangzheng and company immediately burst out laughing when they saw how despondent Squirrel was after he’d said so surely that he still had dumplings.
Fangzheng was very pleased seeing his disciples acting this way. At the very least, his disciples were a lot more obedient than he had been back in the day. Fangzheng even began to marvel at how much perseverance and will he must have had to change from a monster that wreaked havoc to a proper person.
After a sumptuous and delightful meal, everyone went about doing his task. Fangzheng read his scriptures, Red Boy cleaned up the kitchen, Monkey swept the snow, while Lone Wolf and Squirrel carried a huge cloth bag to sweep up the last of the pine nuts on the mountain, a final sweep right after the beginning of winter.
Snow fluttered as the bodhi tree’s leaves were covered in a thick layer of snow. But miraculously enough, the bodhi tree’s branches were even firmer and harder than the northern trees’. Even with so much snow gathered, none of the branches bent or were crushed. The tree still looked highly spirited as it stood there high and erect, as though it was a pillar that stood between the heavens and earth.
Upon seeing this scene, Fangzheng could not help but sigh. “Last year, you were courting death, but this year, you have turned into a demonic spirit!”
Shaking his head, Fangzheng sat beneath the bodhi tree and leaned against the trunk where he read the Buddhist scriptures. From his angle, Fangzheng could see the Bridge of Helplessness which had donned a winter uniform through the open door. He could also see the Heavenly Dragon Pond’s waters which hadn’t frozen. Further away, he could see the bell and drum tower. Sitting there and looking out, he felt like he was tearing through the clouds to watch the world from above. It felt comforting.
The scene was picturesque. Without any visitors, the monastery had its serenity restored. There was a unique charm to the tranquility which monks liked to call—zen!
A morning passed by peacefully and at noon, there was a rumbling boom on the mountaintop.
Simultaneously, Squirrel exclaimed. “Master! Quick look! A plane! The kind without wings!”
Fangzheng was puzzled. A plane without wings? He looked up at Squirrel who was standing on the tree and pointing into the distance. Then he looked at the plane which was flying past. To his surprise, it was a helicopter. From afar, Fangzheng saw that the helicopter seemed to have something written on it. However, he couldn’t see what. The helicopter tore through the sky above One Finger Village and headed straight for Mt. Tongtian.
“Master, what’s written on that plane?” Squirrel asked.
Fangzheng shook his head. “I couldn’t make it out.”
“Look at your terrible eyesight. It had the word ‘rescue’ written on it. I wonder what it’s rescuing…” Lone Wolf spoke. After the animals turned intelligent, Monkey began teaching Lone Wolf and Squirrel words after he learned how to read. It was unknown if it was thanks to the pill or the Buddhistic aura that infused them. It could also be thanks to the daily cleansing of the Crystal Rice and Unrooted Clean Aqua, but the few of them progressed rapidly and could basically read without trouble now.
Rescue? What rescue? Fangzheng suddenly stood up when he heard that. The helicopter was involved in a rescue mission? Something serious had likely happened!