Translator: CKtalon Editor: CKtalon
Fangzheng gave the monastery a glance. Usually, all of his disciples would gather the moment he returned.
But this time, why was it only Lone Wolf, Monkey, and Red Boy? Where was Squirrel?
Fangzheng surveyed his surroundings but didn’t see the little guy. He frowned and asked, “Where’s Jingkuan?”
“Master, I’m here!” Squirrel yelled and jumped down from the tree. However, he didn’t playfully jump onto Fangzheng’s shoulder and instead landed on Lone Wolf’s head. His eyes darted around furtively without daring to look at Fangzheng.
Fangzheng narrowed his eyes. Why did that look appear so familiar?
Fangzheng looked at Squirrel, who raised his head up to the sky…
Fangzheng looked at the others. Monkey was silent and had a kind look. Lone Wolf looked at Fangzheng with an adorable, silly look as though he was a silly dog who knew nothing. Red Boy was feigning ignorance as he straightened his tiny monk attire.
Salted Fish stood beside Fangzheng and took a look. He chuckled. “Reverend, from my experience of reading people after all these years, it seems…”
“It’s no longer early. This Penniless Monk is hungry. Jingxin, is dinner ready?” Fangzheng suddenly asked while interrupting Salted Fish.
When Squirrel heard Salted Fish’s words, he felt rather anxious at first. But then he heard Fangzheng, and he immediately cried out. “It’s done! We were waiting for Master to return before starting!”
“Okay. Let’s go.” Fangzheng nodded, as though he had no intention of pressing further.
The few disciples exchanged looks as Salted Fish twirled his whiskers and came up to Squirrel. He chuckled and said, “Little fellow, with my years of experience, I can tell you it’s best to admit as early as possible no matter what you’ve done.”
Squirrel instantly hesitated a little.
After Salted Fish said that, he held his fins behind his back and casually walked away like he was an ancestor.
Squirrel looked at Lone Wolf, Monkey, and Red Boy. All of them looked at him, as though saying that it was up to him to decide, and left.
Fangzheng entered the backyard, and his eyes scanned the area. Now, Fangzheng was no longer the Fangzheng of the past. His memory was outstanding. Although his eyes couldn’t see through everything, he had an eidetic memory. With one sweep of his eyes, he knew what the backyard had and didn’t have. Then he compared the scene in front of him with his memories.
But apparently, there had been no changes to the backyard. Hence Fangzheng walked into the kitchen and scanned the area as well. Fangzheng’s eyes suddenly lit up as they landed on a pile of bowls. One Finger Monastery wasn’t rich in the past and although it had some incense money now, Fangzheng was never a spendthrift person. He ultimately felt that apart from resolving food problems with money, the saying dust to dust, ashes to ashes suited everything else—things ought to return to where they came from. What people donated had to be used to benefit people. Therefore, although One Finger Monastery now had some petty cash, Fangzheng never thought of adding items of luxury to One Finger Monastery.
Even the new furniture had been carved by Fangzheng.
As for bowls and pots, he had been using the ones which Zen Master One Finger left him. And it wasn’t a very rich inheritance. There were only seven normal bowls, three plates, and two huge bowls! Those were all the things One Finger Monastery used for eating.
However, when Fangzheng scanned the area, he realized that one of the seven bowls was missing! Thinking back to Squirrel’s furtive expression, Fangzheng was enlightened. So that was the reason!
Fangzheng pricked up his brows, planning to directly talk to the little guy. Breaking a bowl wasn’t a big deal, but hiding the truth wasn’t right. But at that moment, Fangzheng was suddenly stunned.
Breaking a bowl?
Why did that sound familiar? At that instant, something deep in the recesses of Fangzheng’s memory was dug up. His memories which were laden with dust turned clear.
It was an autumn more than a decade ago. The sky had just brightened when a little figure carrying a school bag secretly ran out of One Finger Temple’s door. Then, it furtively glanced at One Finger Temple. After confirming that no one was looking, it scampered off.
After reaching the foot of the mountain, the thief-like Fangzheng heaved a sigh of relief and went to school.
Little did he know that on the mountaintop, an old monk was watching Fangzheng going down the mountain with a smile. In his hand was a huge shattered bowl!
Bowls weren’t anything precious to most people. They weren’t worth a lot, and when broken, most people would shout an auspicious saying to negate the bad luck, after which everyone would laugh happily and forget the matter.
But in One Finger Temple, bowls were no ordinary items. They were necessary for eating!
From a young age, Fangzheng was not someone that didn’t worry others. One Finger Temple originally had twelve bowls, and Zen Master One Finger had once chuckled, saying as he washed the bowls, “These are twelve of our One Finger Temple’s Guardian Protectors! With them, we won’t starve.”
But in the end, the twelve Guardian Protectors were killed one by one by the little imp. On more than one occasion, Zen Master One Finger lamented towards the heavens, saying, “What sin did This Penniless Monk commit? Why did he bring up an imp that might destroy his temple!?”
Up to the moment when only two bowls were left, yet then, another one failed to survive…
Zen Master One Finger looked at the bowl, feeling his heart ache. How was dinner to be eaten now?
Time passed, and soon, the day was over. In the evening, Fangzheng sat at the foot of the mountain as he reluctantly walked home. He yearned for each step to take ten times the usual amount of time.
Little did he know that Zen Master One Finger was aware of this. However, Zen Master One Finger had no intention of rushing him. He waited at the top of the mountain.
Time passed by second after second, and no matter how slowly Fangzheng walked, he ultimately arrived at the top of the mountain. He craned his neck past the monastery’s main door to secretly look at the surroundings. After being certain that no one was looking at him, Fangzheng heaved a sigh of relief. He furtively walked in like a thief.
But the moment he circled to the backyard, he heard the door behind him close!
“Master, have you eaten?” Fangzheng looked at Zen Master One Finger who was standing behind the door as his head broke out into a cold sweat.
Zen Master One Finger pointed at the kitchen and said, “Go and have some food.”
Seeing that Zen Master One Finger wasn’t incensed, he hurriedly ran in. But ultimately, he still felt guilty. He believed that Zen Master One Finger had not noticed the broken bowl and was feeling worried. He sat beside the kitchen top and fiddled with things in nervousness, when he accidentally dropped the bowl in his hand!
At that instant, Fangzheng felt his brain buzz. He had no idea where he was anymore and only felt like the sky was collapsing. He was doomed!
Just as Fangzheng was hanging his head low and waiting to be beaten, he saw a broom reaching over to sweep away the bowl. Zen Master One Finger did not say a word. After sweeping everything away, he headed out.
Fangzheng was puzzled as he asked, “Master, aren’t you angry? The twelve Guardian Protectors have died…”
Zen Master One Finger said, “I am.”
“Then why aren’t you beating me?” Back when Fangzheng was younger, he suffered quite a lot of beatings. A palm could hit his buttocks with such strength that just the thought of it left his ass burning.
Zen Master One Finger said, “You are already old, and you understand reason. So why should I beat you?”
Fangzheng was stunned.