Translator: CKtalon Editor: CKtalon
The System fell silent.
Fangzheng’s heart skipped a beat. He believed that he had guessed right. The arrival of Salted Fish was a way of replacing Red Boy, to become One Finger Monastery’s real Guardian Protector.
Ten seconds, thirty seconds, sixty seconds…
Yet the System kept silent the entire time. Fangzheng had never felt time pass by so slowly before! Just as he was about to rush the system…
The System said, “When Red Boy leaves depends on the both of you. As for that salted fish, it’s true that he can become your Guardian Protector, but… To make him your Guardian Protector, you need to first transform him into a dragon.”
“Uh? Why? His combat strength is that shitty? He can’t even be a Guardian Protector of a mortal?” When Fangzheng heard that Red Boy’s departure was not under the System’s jurisdiction, he immediately felt relieved. That way, he could stay as long as he wished. Although the child was quite a brat, having spent so much time together, Fangzheng really would miss him if he were gone. With his greatest worry resolved, Fangzheng’s mind turned active.
The System said, “Although this fellow has yet to transform into a dragon, he has lived for too long. Just cultivating a little every day for such a long time will naturally result in quite considerable strength. In Mount Numinous he would be considered crap, but here he’s indeed a god.”
Fangzheng was instantly satisfied when he heard that. He continued asking, “In that case, his strength now is sufficient to be my Guardian Protector, so it doesn’t matter if he transforms into a dragon, right?”
The System returned with a question. “You must have heard of Guardian Protector Heavenly Dragons, but have you heard of Guardian Protector Salted Fishes? A Guardian Protector Heavenly Dragon isn’t just a Buddhist Guardian Protector. It’s also an important element of the reputation of Buddhists. Think about it. In the future, when you face danger, are you going to shout, Guardian Protector Salted Fish, attack! Imagine that scene for yourself.”
Fangzheng imagined the scene… Him waving his hand, only to have an old salted fish walk out from behind him, coughing with his back hunched, with even a walking stick in hand. Then he would look up at the enemy, shouting. “Have a taste of my phlegm!”
The moment he thought of this, Fangzheng had a dark cloud over his head. He couldn’t bear to imagine the rest. How embarrassing!
“How is it?” the System asked.
Fangzheng nodded. “You are very right!”
With everything troubling him resolved, Fangzheng slept quite soundly.
After waking up and striking the bell and drum, a brand new day was ushered in. Seeing Red Boy and Squirrel running out to dig bamboo shoots, Fangzheng narrowed his eyes, mumbling. “It’s indeed good to be young. How carefree.”
At this moment, a head popped out from the Heavenly Dragon Pond. He added. “It’s indeed good to be young. You don’t even need a brain.”
Fangzheng’s expression instantly turned livid. The same matter, but said in a different way by a different person was indeed different.
“Master, good morning.” Salted Fish flipped about in the water. He floated there looking rather relaxed.
Fangzheng looked at this fellow who had plenty of time on his fins, and then at Monkey, who was sweeping the floor. “Jingzhen, bring the broom over.”
Monkey was puzzled. What was Master up to? Fangzheng smiled at Salted Fish. “This Penniless Monk doesn’t rear loafers, be they people or fish. Go sweep the snow away from the area leading from the mountain road to the monastery. If you sweep it clean, you will have more food for breakfast. If you don’t sweep it clean, keep starving.”
Salted Fish nearly jumped out in anger when he heard Fangzheng’s first half of his speech! To get a fish like him to sweep the snow? To think a monk could think of that! But when he heard that last half of Fangzheng’s speech, he immediately flagged. After suffering hunger once, he would rather die than suffer it again. As he took in the fragrance wafting from the backyard, he regretted having gotten such a good nose back when he had gained sentience.
Looking at the broom in Fangzheng’s hand and then the snow on the ground, Salted Fish finally gritted his teeth and took the broom. He obediently started sweeping the snow. When Fangzheng saw his agile fins, he could not help but be secretly impressed. To be able to use fins like they were hands was something only a demon could do indeed.
Seeing Salted Fish doing quite a good job sweeping, Fangzheng said, “In the future, One Finger Monastery’s zones will be split. From the Bridge of Helplessness to the mountain entrance, uh… As well as the snow on the mountain road, that zone will belong to Salted Fish.”
The moment that was said, Salted Fish wobbled and nearly planted to the ground. He turned his head and stared angrily, waving his broom, shouting. “No! I protest! This is fish labor!”
Fangzheng smiled. “You can not do it, but the matter of you becoming a formal employee will have to be postponed…”
“I…” Salted Fish was instantly rendered speechless. For the first time in his life, he realized that he was completely at the mercy of food! Salted Fish said in indignation, “What gives you the right to make me do this? There are so many people in your monastery!”
By the side, Monkey said calmly, “More people means more work. Jingxin is mainly responsible for washing the Crystal Rice because it’s about to ripen. No one knows when it will ripen, so someone needs to watch it. In addition, there is the mission of patrolling the mountains to prevent people from sneaking into Mt. Tongtian and causing trouble again. Senior Brother Jingzhen’s mission is to follow Eldest Senior Brother daily into the mountains to see if he can bring back anything, so as to give us more variety in our food. As for This Penniless Monk, he is in charge of sweeping the temple hall and yard.”
“What about him?” Salted Fish looked at Fangzheng.
Fangzheng chuckled and said without a tinge of embarrassment, “As the master, I obviously have to contemplate the Buddhist Dharma and enhance my cultivation. This is a tough mission. So, it’s best you work hard honestly. If you do well, your probation period will end early. If you do badly, in such cold weather, won’t you be cold when your stomach is empty?”
Salted Fish’s mouth turned agape, and he wished to say something, but when he heard Fangzheng’s words, he really found his body to be a little cold. Of course, it was only his imagination. As an old demon, he really didn’t mind the tiny bit of cold.
Fangzheng said, “Alright. Get to work. In addition, remember, make sure not to let others discover that you are a demon! Otherwise, if you get taken away to be dissected, I won’t be able to protect you.”
With that said, Fangzheng left.
Salted Fish stood in his spot with broom in hand, wishing to curse. F**k!
But eventually, he could only lament dejectedly. He dragged the broom out and as he walked, he mumbled. “Darn baldy. One day when I become a dragon, I’ll make you sweep a lifetime’s worth of snow! That’s not right. I’ll get you to catch loaches in the water! F**k, I’ll freeze a grandson like you to death. That’s not right either. That would be elevating your seniority. It should be great-great-great-great-great… grandson!”
No matter how much he cursed, though, Salted Fish eventually swept the snow. He had no other choice but to do so for the food!
Salted Fish was ultimately a demon. Although he was a fish, his bones had long warped to his own wishes. Therefore his agility was in no way comparable to a human’s. As for his strength… For him to not be sent flying when colliding with Red Boy, it naturally meant that he wasn’t lacking in that department either. As such, with Salted Fish really getting down to business, the broom swept quickly, and clumps of snow seemed to be hit by a racing snow clearer, turning into waves.
Soon, Salted Fish was done sweeping the summit. Then he began sweeping down the staircase. As the stairs weren’t flat, he wasn’t able to do it too quickly. Furthermore, it was easy to encounter people, and if he caused too much of a commotion, things wouldn’t be easily resolved. Hence Salted Fish had no choice but to slow down.
Since he had nothing to do, he treated it as a form of leisure.
As he hummed a tune while sweeping the snow, he heard voices ahead around a bend. He exclaimed inwardly. “There’s someone coming?”