Translator: CKtalon Editor: CKtalon
Fangzheng didn’t know that as their interaction time increased, be it Lone Wolf, Master, Squirrel, or Red Boy, they had all gradually started considering themselves the members of One Finger Monastery. Although Fangzheng was very gentle to them, Fangzheng had taken up the top spot in their hearts since the beginning. He was their most important master. When Fangzheng wasn’t angry, all of them gamboled around and had fun. If Fangzheng was unhappy, all of them felt uneasy, afraid that they would be kicked out of the monastery.
As the saying went, the more one valued something, the more they cared about it. Who would care about something they thought little of?
Therefore, even though it was a trivial matter, Squirrel felt extreme unease.
This was different from Fangzheng’s past situation. When he was younger, he treated One Finger Temple as his home, and Zen Master One Finger was his father! And in that era, thoughts were simple and pure. There was no influence from the Internet, so his thoughts had been adequately innocent for his age, completely unlike Squirrel and the rest who had been corrupted by Red Boy.
The young Fangzheng had just been a playful brat who never even had the idea of being thrown out. Therefore, he had never worried about such a thing.
However, Squirrel and the rest were different. They had already reached a mature age, so they had many considerations.
Fangzheng patted Squirrel on the head.
Squirrel said with a sobbing tone, sounding aggrieved, “Master, I was very careful… I used to hold things very steadily in the past, but I don’t know why my hands kept shaking. Boohoo!”
Fangzheng had planned on talking to him after dinner, but the situation didn’t seem like it permitted him to wait. Hence, Fangzheng carried Squirrel just like how Zen Master One Finger had carried him back then. He stood in the kitchen and looked out at the dark blue sky outside the window and the white rooftops. He said softly, “Do you know why?”
Squirrel shook his head.
Fangzheng smiled faintly and repeated what Zen Master One Finger had said to him back then ad verbatim. After finishing, Fangzheng touched Squirrel’s head and said, “This is what my master taught me, and today, I’m teaching it to you.”
“Master, I’m sorry!” Squirrel ultimately wasn’t the playful, young Fangzheng. He nodded obediently and apologized.
Fangzheng smiled in satisfaction as he looked at a white cloud in the distance. He felt like he could vaguely notice an old monk smiling at him.
After resolving Squirrel’s problem, Fangzheng indicated that he could have dinner. Then, he headed for the dining table first. Lone Wolf was forever the first person to run over. After which, Monkey, Fangzheng, and Red Boy were responsible for scooping rice and getting plates.
Instead, trailing behind was Salted Fish who was always the most eager to eat. He narrowed his eyes at Squirrel, who had seemed to regain his spirits, chuckling. “Little guy, I told you earlier to admit to your mistakes early, but you refused. Tsk, here’s another word of advice. You will only suffer by not taking the advice of the elderly. Take note of what I, an old ancestor, has to say in the future.”
“But, if I were to admit to my mistake without realizing why exactly it happened, I wouldn’t remember my faults, right?” Squirrel asked, feeling a little confused.
Salted Fish laughed out loud. “That’s because of your ignorance. The ancients said: a fault confessed is half redressed! There’s a lot of wisdom behind this saying. Think it over carefully by yourself.”
Squirrel had always been someone filled with curiosity. With Salted Fish saying that, he ignored the smugness in Salted Fish’s words as well as the bit of ridicule and pressed. “What does it mean? Won’t apologizing too easily make it worthless?”
Salted Fish shook his head as he looked at Squirrel as though you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. “You still don’t understand. As the saying goes, change if you know your mistakes, but if you can’t change, commit the mistake again!”
“Then what happens if the mistake is committed again?” Squirrel asked.
“Change again!” Salted Fish said.
Squirrel gaped. “And what if it’s committed again?”
Even after a few rounds of cyclic questioning, Squirrel continued pressing for an answer in an adamant manner. As for Salted Fish, who was just ridiculing Squirrel, he could no longer handle it. He hurriedly called for a time-out. “Little Fatty, stop asking. Here’s another idiom for you. Figure it out yourself.”
Indeed, Squirrel stopped asking as he stared at Salted Fish curiously.
Salted Fish looked up into the sky and spoke nonsense in all seriousness. “To be steeled over and over again!”
After saying that, Salted Fish secretly stole a glance at Squirrel. Seeing him fall in deep thought, he was rather pleased as he thought, “Hehe. Indeed, children of small places are easily tricked. If this were Mount Numinous, I would have long been sent running everywhere…”
At that moment, Fangzheng shouted. “Jingkuan, it’s mealtime.”
When Squirrel heard Fangzheng shout for him, he immediately quickened his pace, ran over, and jumped onto the table. He picked a plate and sat down to begin eating. However, this little fellow had clearly been tricked. He racked his brains as he ate, mumbling to himself while eating. “Change and committing, committing and changing, change and committing…”
Finally, Red Boy couldn’t stand listening to it anymore. He said, “Stop chanting. That old guy was spouting nonsense. If you act as he tells you to, you will end up like him, an incorrigible salted fish 1 .”
At this moment, Salted Fish, who was still wearing a smug look on his face, walked over and scoffed. “What’s wrong with being a salted fish? I’m proud of being a salted fish! Other fish can’t become a salted fish demon even if they want to!”
After that was said, though, Salted Fish looked down, and his smugness was instantly gone. His face turned black.
At the dining table, Fangzheng was having a great time eating with his huge bowl. Red Boy also used a huge bowl. Squirrel and Monkey used a plate, while Lone Wolf slumped over the ground with a basin. The only remaining plate was used to hold food, so all Salted Fish had was a pair of chopsticks, nothing else!
Salted Fish widened his huge fish eyes and exclaimed. “Reverend, where’s my bowl?”
Fangzheng said nonchalantly, “The monastery only had those few bowls, and the remaining bowls and plates are here. This Penniless Monk can’t be biased towards anyone, so all he can do is use a first come, first served system, a principle with which the silent eat more. Since you came late, you will have to figure things out for yourself.”
The moment Salted Fish heard that, he got worked up. Figure things out himself? What alternative solutions could he possibly have? Seeing Lone Wolf wolfing down the Crystal Rice, he turned anxious! He knew these beasts very well. If he waited for them to empty out a bowl for him, perhaps all he could do was lick the plate.
Salted Fish gritted his teeth when he realized this. He held his chopsticks and directly picked the food up for eating!
Fangzheng didn’t stop him or react much, apart from saying indifferently, “No wastage.”
Salted Fish paused when he heard that. As a salted fish, his fins were definitely inferior to hands. Furthermore, without a bowl, there was a high chance of him dropping the food on the table. Was he to eat food from the table? It would be food wastage if he didn’t, but if he did…
Once Salted Fish thought of this and saw the rice and food vanishing at a rapid pace, he gritted his teeth and lay down across the table, opening his mouth wide and using it as a bowl!
Upon seeing this scene, everyone was collectively dumbfounded. Such a thing could be done?
Red Boy smacked his lips. “I really wish to slice open his fish head to see what it’s like inside…”
Fangzheng pricked up his brows but didn’t say anything. After all, it was true that they were lacking in bowls, and the idea Salted Fish had come up with was pretty good. As for why he wasn’t helping Salted Fish think of a solution, the reason was simple. Fangzheng was pissed! Fangzheng always believed that unity was the most important. However, Salted Fish kept considering himself separate from the monastery. When Squirrel made a mistake, not only did he not console him, he even said things to flaunt his age. Even if what he said seemed reasonable, he had no intention of educating Squirrel. This was the fundamental reason why Fangzheng made it so that he didn’t have a bowl to eat.
Just as Salted Fish ate two mouthfuls and felt conceited, there was suddenly the sound of footsteps coming from outside, as well as someone asking, “Master Fangzheng, are you around?”