Translator: CKtalon Editor: CKtalon
“Hey, Second Brother Ma, why are you here? What a coincidence. You came just as I stepped in.” Ma Jiangping didn’t seem embarrassed at all as she greeted in a rather experienced manner. If Fangzheng and Lame Ma hadn’t been standing by the door all day, they might have really believed her nonsense.
Lame Ma scoffed and said, “You know very well why I’m here. Besides, I’ve been here all day. I called you at the door.”
The moment that was said, the atmosphere froze instantly. It turned extremely awkward as it seemed like they were at each other’s necks.
Everyone who was playing mahjong hurriedly put away their money and prepared to leave.
Ma Jiangping also wore a somewhat embarrassed expression. She never expected an honest man would speak so fiercely without giving her any face or leeway. She glanced at Meng Changming who coughed. “Second Brother Ma, why didn’t you inform us you were coming? We didn’t even prepare anything for your sudden arrival.”
“Prepare? Prepare to run or lock the door?” Lame Ma was never a good-tempered person. When he was a good and honest man, anything was easily negotiable, but once he was angered, his words could leave one so embarrassed that they would feel like committing suicide.
“Second Brother Ma, that’s not very nice of you to say. We did borrow some money of yours, but there’s no need to come all the way here to ask for repayment, right? It’s almost the new year, but you caused such a stir in front of so many people. Are you really not giving me any face?” Seeing that Meng Changming was speechless from the retort, Ma Jiangping hurriedly said something. She also diverted the topic of not repaying her loan, and instead blamed Lame Ma for not giving her face. Fangzheng was quite impressed by her ability to misdirect.
Lame Ma took a look at the others and frowned. “This has nothing to do with you. Leave quickly!”
“Why leave? No one is to leave! I want to see what you, Lame Ma, are up to today! It’s almost the new year, but here you are, causing a scene at your relative’s place! Nice of you! Let’s get everyone to see what kind of person you are!” Ma Jiangping knew that decorum was lost, so she disregarded everything. She didn’t allow anyone to leave as she stood akimbo, shouting like a shrewd.
Lame Ma was somewhat stunned, having never been retorted so badly before. He subconsciously shot Fangzheng a glance and said, “Are you even being reasonable? I invited Abbot Fangzheng here to be the judge.”
“What a joke. You already said that you invited Fangzheng, so he will naturally be biased! Are you upset? Why don’t I get my husband to be the judge? What do you think of that!?” Ma Jiangping yelled.
Lame Ma said angrily, “Ma Jiangping, don’t you spout nonsense! Who doesn’t know what kind of person Abbot Fangzheng is!”
“That’s right. Who doesn’t know? Who doesn’t know that Abbot Fangzheng often pilfered years ago…” Ma Jiangping said in an eccentric tone. After saying that, she hurriedly said with an obsequious smile at Fangzheng, “Man, Abbot Fangzheng, my mouth shoots faster than my mind. I almost forgot that you are around. But I have no intention of speaking ill of you. What I said was the truth. You won’t be angry over the truth, right?”
The moment that was said, it also left Fangzheng stunned in his spot.
Lame Ma was so incensed that his lips were quivering. He glared with widened eyes, just short of reaching out to beat her!
At that moment, Fangzheng patted him on the shoulder, indicating for him to calm down. Then, he warmly looked at Ma Jiangping and smiled. “Patron, you are right. This Penniless Monk had no lack of pilfering instances back then.”
Ma Jiangping originally imagined that Fangzheng would come up with all sorts of excuses to deny her claim, and she had even prepared many responses for different situations. To her surprise, Fangzheng showed no signs of anger. Instead, he looked at her warmly as though whatever she said was useless against him. Furthermore, Fangzheng openly admitted to his faults in front of everyone without giving any excuses!
With that, Ma Jiangping was left a little at a loss. However, she was quite capable at quarrels. Her eyes darted around before she said to the crowd, “See? I wasn’t wrong, right? Abbot Fangzheng has admitted to it himself.” Then Ma Jiangping continued. “Abbot Fangzheng, this is my house, right?”
Ma Jiangping chuckled and narrowed her eyes. “Then, is it right for you to enter my house without me inviting you in?”
What she was saying now was almost equivalent to chasing him away! She wasn’t showing the least bit of politeness.
Ma Jiangping could tell very clearly that Fangzheng was there to help Lame Ma. Now that he hadn’t said a word, she wanted to chase him away before he even had a chance to prevent her from causing trouble.
Everyone else frowned when they heard that. Who was Fangzheng? Everyone in the neighboring villages respected him. So Ma Jiangping saying something like that pissed off everyone. However, Ma Jiangping was right. This was her house, and she did have the right to decide who could enter her house. Therefore, everyone remained silent as they subconsciously looked at Fangzheng and Lame Ma, curious about their response.
However, Fangzheng remained unfazed. Instead, he smiled at Ma Jiangping and said, “Patron, This Penniless Monk only has one thing to say before leaving.”
“What do you want to say?” Meng Changming asked out of curiosity.
Ma Jiangping immediately glared at him, seemingly blaming him for being talkative! However, on second thought, it was unlikely that any trouble would happen just because of Fangzheng saying a mere sentence. At most, she could retort him with a few prepared lines.
Hence, Ma Jiangping nodded, looking like she was ready for anything he said.
Fangzheng smiled and said, “This Penniless Monk is here to solicit donations.”
“Solicit donations?” Ma Jiangping, Meng Changming, and the other mahjong players were a little stunned. Although One Finger Monastery wasn’t too far from their village, it was absolutely not considered near. All these years, the monk from One Finger Monastery had only solicited donations from One Finger Village without coming to their village. Therefore, their concept of soliciting donations was limited to what they had seen in television serials. They had never encountered it in real life before.
Ma Jiangping’s interest was instantly piqued as she asked, “What do you want as a donation?”
Ma Jiangping remembered that the monks in television serials solicited for food and never money. She thought to herself, “Even the famous Abbot Fangzheng came here to beg for food at my place?” She felt it would uplift her reputation if she mentioned this to others.
At that moment, someone outside called for Ma Jiangping, who immediately ran out. However, Meng Changming remained inside the house, slowly drinking his tea. He knew very well that Fangzheng was there to help Lame Ma, and since the friend of an enemy was an enemy, he didn’t give Fangzheng any face. Instead, he sneered and said, “Abbot Fangzheng, what do you want as a donation? We do have some leftover rice.”
Fangzheng smiled and said, “This Penniless Monk wishes to receive a donation of ten thousand yuan.”
“Pfft!” Meng Changming spewed out a mouthful of tea. He felt anger rise up in his chest but couldn’t release it.
The other mahjong players jumped in fright while watching the hooha! There were cases of soliciting donations in television serials, but never ever was it this crazy! To ask for ten thousand right off the bat wasn’t soliciting for donations, but robbery!