Translator: CKtalon Editor: CKtalon
Seeing Lame Ma looking helpless, especially with the fury in his eyes gradually extinguishing, Fangzheng smiled in satisfaction. “Now that you aren’t angry, we can enter.”
“Uh…” Lame Ma was stunned rooted to the ground when he heard that. Angry?
Fangzheng said, “Zen Master One Finger once said that one shouldn’t act on impulse when doing anything. When you realize that you desire to do something too strongly, you need to calm down. Think about it, and think it over first before doing it. Otherwise, if you act recklessly, there’s a high chance that something bad will happen. With you looking so angry, what would you have done if you entered without This Penniless Monk stopping you?”
Lame Ma was stunned. Thinking back to the evil thoughts he had on his mind, there was a chance he would have started flipping tables and cursing if Fangzheng had not stopped him. It might have even developed into a fight. If that happened, there was a chance of him spending the new year in jail…
Once he realized this, Lame Ma blushed and bowed. “Thank you, Abbot Fangzheng.”
Fangzheng shook his head and brought Lame Ma to the door, but the two didn’t enter. Fangzheng made Lame Ma stand to the side as he gestured for him to listen.
At that moment, Ma Jiangping was sitting beside a mahjong table with a stack of red bills on the table. She held a cigarette in her mouth as she shuffled the mahjong tiles. She wore a relaxed and languid expression, showing no remorse over the debt she owed. Instead, she asked loudly, “How much was it just now?”
“Eight hundred,” the winner said.
Without saying a word, Ma Jiangping counted eight hundred yuan and threw it over.
The person took the money and laughed. “Jiangping, the caller from before was Second Brother Ma, right? I heard his days are pretty good recently. When did you reconnect with him? It’s been years since we last communicated. How’s he?”
When Ma Jiangping heard that, she threw her cigarette into the ashtray and scoffed. “He’s doing fine and is some artisan in One Finger Village. To put it nicely, he’s an engraving master, but to put it bluntly, he’s just a carpenter.”
“It’s not as bad as you say, right? I heard that youths from many villages are trying to study under him. I was even considering sending my child over to learn from him… In this day and age, university isn’t easy. Even if you get in, your livelihood still depends on your capability. After some thought, I think it’s better to learn a skill,” another woman said.
Ma Jiangping curled her lips and said, “All that is just bragging from One Finger Village to trick outsiders. What skill? It’s just a carpenter’s carvings. Which village doesn’t have a carpenter? What’s the difference? I’m his relative, so how can I not know how good he is? If he was that impressive, he wouldn’t have stayed a bachelor his entire life.”
“Hey, do you think his character is problematic?” At that moment, Meng Changming feigned curiosity and suddenly interjected.
Ma Jiangping immediately said, “Think about it yourself. He’s in his forties, and he doesn’t have a child or a partner sleeping beside him. There must be a reason for it! Either he has one but keeps it a secret, or no one wants him because he’s poor, or—”
Ma Jiangping dragged out her tone before giving an eccentric laugh.
“What?” the few people asked out of curiosity.
Ma Jiangping deliberately acted mysterious by saying, “He’s mentally perverted!”
Lame Ma nearly stormed in when he heard that but was stopped by Fangzheng. Lame Ma knew what kind of person Ma Jiangping was, but Fangzheng knew nothing about her. He couldn’t believe Lame Ma just from his side of the story. By standing outside the door, he could first help Lame Ma understand his relative better and second, he could gain his own understanding of the person inside.
The moment that was said, the man across mumbled. “Hehe, with Lame Ma’s skills, he can’t be that poor. Could it really be a character problem? But I’ve never heard anyone mention that before…”
Ma Jiangping scoffed. “Come on, a person’s heart isn’t bare for all to see. What can you know if you just base your knowledge on hearsay without interacting with him? I visited him two days ago. Tell me, he’s considered a senior of One Finger Village and will be setting up an engraving school. That makes him quite an official, right? People that enroll in the school will study under him, right? With such conditions, he wasn’t even willing to arrange a job for my son, Dezi, and let him learn some skills under him! Tell me, what kind of relative is he? People say that blood runs thicker than water, but this fellow just turned his back on a relative. He’s a coldblooded animal!”
Lame Ma’s face flushed red as Fangzheng hurriedly gestured for him to calm down.
“It’s probably hard to give a job, but he shouldn’t have rejected him from enrolling in the school, right?” another person asked in surprise.
Ma Jiangping said, “You don’t believe me? That’s what happened!”
At that moment, a person walked in from outside and frowned. “Ma Jiangping, didn’t you say yesterday that he lent you twenty thousand yuan? Why are you now speaking about how terrible his character is?”
The moment that was said, Ma Jiangping’s expression fell. However, she stiffened her neck and exclaimed. “All of you know his situation. Which One Finger Village villager isn’t rich now? Is twenty thousand yuan even considered money to him? That’s only a loan, and he doesn’t even feel bad about it! Besides, it’s only been a few days, but he has been pestering me by calling all the time. Does he even care that we are family?”
The moment that was said, the others were a little at a loss for words. Although they felt that Ma Jiangping wasn’t right, it was pointless arguing with her. Besides, it had nothing to do with them, so no one said anything.
Ma Jiangping continued. “Sigh. Even though they are both people, but Dezi’s second uncle is so much better. Back then, when Dezi got married, he gave twenty thousand yuan just like that. Look at Lame Ma… You really can’t compare people.”
“Hehe, you reminded me of him now that you mentioned this. How’s his second uncle’s factory? I heard the price of cement rose recently. Does this mean he has made a killing again?” the man opposite her asked.
Ma Jiangping nodded and said, “Definitely. His wealth is already in the millions.”
Ma Jiangping kept praising Meng Dezi’s second uncle for how wealthy and generous he was, while denigrating Lame Ma for being heartless and inhumane.
However, Ma Jiangping never realized that Lame Ma’s twenty thousand yuan was most of his savings, while the twenty thousand yuan was nearly nothing to Meng Dezi’s second uncle.
Lame Ma was already gritting his teeth when he heard that. If it wasn’t for Fangzheng stopping him, he would have long stormed in to flip the table and curse. After listening for a little longer, Fangzheng realized that the topic of conversation switched to something else. He knew that he wouldn’t learn anything new, but from what he had heard, he could be certain that Lame Ma had not lied. Ma Jiangping was even more diabolical than what Lame Ma had described!
Upon realizing this, Fangzheng no longer felt burdened. He patted Lame Ma and said, “Let’s go in.”
With that said, Fangzheng opened the door and walked in.
The moment they entered, the people in the room subconsciously looked over. Ma Jiangping, who was having a great time chatting, turned flustered as she looked straight at the furious Lame Ma by Fangzheng’s side!