Translator: CKtalon Editor: CKtalon
At that instant, Lame Ma thought he could hear jaws hitting the ground. He looked at Fangzheng like he had seen a ghost. He had failed to get a single cent from Ma Jiangping despite trying so hard all this while. He even wasted quite a bit on telephone bills. Yet with just one word from Fangzheng, he got back ten thousand yuan. A second request, and he had twenty thousand… Lame Ma felt that his idea of earning money which had accompanied him his entire life had been completely subverted! If money was so easily earned, why would he need to even deal with engraving? He just needed to be a monk and solicit donations!
The others felt the same way. If Meng Changming could have given the money because he had a shred of conscience, it was completely without reason that Ma Jiangping would give the money! Everyone knew what kind of person Ma Jiangping was… All of them exchanged looks, completely confounded by what had happened. However, the way they looked at Fangzheng was filled with respect and fear.
At that moment, a woman shouted. “Abbot Fangzheng, Ma Jiangping still owes me a thousand yuan. It’s been more than a year. She has the money to buy a car, but she has no money to repay me. Sigh. Abbot Fangzheng, do you think…”
The woman was only making an attempt, but it was still an honest plea for help.
In response, Fangzheng smiled. Without waiting for Ma Jiangping to snap to her senses to curse and shout, he said, “Patron, This Penniless Monk wishes to solicit another thousand yuan in donations.”
“Fangzheng, don’t you go overboard!” Meng Changming lamented inwardly when he heard that. This monk was odd. As long as he made a request, anyone would give him what he wanted! If this continued, their family would go bankrupt.
However, he realized that Fangzheng was speaking to him this time!
At that instant, Meng Changming felt his mind buzz as he thought, “I’m doomed!”
Indeed, by the time he came to his senses, he saw Fangzheng hand over the thousand yuan to the woman.
Meng Changming looked at the money in his hand which had clearly thinned and felt his heart ache. Even worse was the shuddering of his back. He was breaking out into a cold sweat. The feeling of not being in control of his body and voluntarily giving away money frightened him! He had no clarity of mind when handing over the money. All he had was the desire to give away the money! However, this was the first time he was acting domineeringly in front of Ma Jiangping. To snatch the money from Ma Jiangping’s hands and count ten bills to give to Fangzheng was quite exhilarating, but he also felt the despair of knowing he’d be beaten to death…
At that instant, a furious and warped face appeared in front of him! It was none other than Ma Jiangping!
Ma Jiangping wore a fake smile and said, “Nice, Meng Changming. You have become capable, huh? You dare snatch the money from my hands?”
“No… I… You also know that this monk… Man… How can I explain this?” At that moment, Meng Changming felt like crying. There was no way to explain himself.
However, Ma Jiangping wasn’t a lunatic either. After her initial rage, her heart chilled. She had also involuntarily given the money when Fangzheng requested it from her. She felt as though she was giving it completely from the bottom of her heart. It was an unstoppable feeling that was extremely strange.
With this in mind, Ma Jiangping knew that if this continued, the little bit of wealth she had saved up would be gone.
Just as she was about to say something, the man who was originally sitting across her said, “Abbot Fangzheng, she still owes my store five hundred yuan. Do you think…”
The moment the man spoke, the others also began to speak up. Some were owed a hundred, others fifty. That was nothing, but worst of all, someone had begun making phone calls to get their friends and family come reclaim their loans!
At that instant, Ma Jiangping felt the world spin around her. She couldn’t even make out the people around her as her ears buzzed. She couldn’t hear anything clearly.
The only thing she could see clearly was the white-robed monk.
The only thing she could hear clearly was the monk saying, “This Penniless Monk wishes to solicit…”
Then, what followed was her looking at the monk in front of her with a look of despair as she handed over the money like a robot.
More and more people came to Ma Jiangping’s house. Everyone knew that she lived quite well, but Ma Jiangping seldom flaunted her wealth, so everyone only imagined that she lived well on the surface. Some people even felt that Fangzheng was being too ruthless. To help reclaim everyone’s loans, this was basically pushing her into a corner! No one would be able to afford to repay all these loans at once… However, when they saw Ma Jiangping taking out wads of cash from the bottom of her cabinets, all of them came to the realization that they had been fooled! She was a classic example of a bad debtor. She didn’t return the money despite having enough!
Therefore, people who originally pitied her began extending their hands. They requested for whatever they were owed without showing any pity.
When the crowd dispersed, Ma Jiangping looked at the two wads of cash left in her hand before sitting on the ground, wailing.
Meng Changming also felt as grief-stricken as if his parents had passed away. He sat there bitterly murmuring. “We’re doomed. Doomed… It’s all over. I told you long ago that it’s easier to borrow again after you repay your debts, but you refused to listen to me, thinking that they are all fools. You keep saying that fools spend their own money to survive, while the smart live on other people’s money. That we should act poor whenever they come, and as long as they have any sense of propriety, they won’t lose decorum with us. Great, now everyone knows what kind of people we are. How are we to live our days from now on?”
Ma Jiangping cried. “You know to blame me now? Why didn’t you say a word when we used the borrowed money to eat and drink well?”
Meng Changming raised his hand to slap himself. “I was blinded by the luxuries. Sigh…”
“Dad, Mom, there’s still someone here.” At that moment, Meng Dezi, who had not dared to say a word until now, whispered.
When they heard that, they looked up and were surprised to see that Fangzheng was still standing in their house!
Upon seeing Fangzheng, their hearts tightened. Even the sharp-tongued Ma Jiangping was so afraid that she didn’t dare say a word. Her lips began to quiver, and it took her a while to say, “Fang… Mas… Master Fangzheng, we have returned what we owed. Why haven’t you left? Are you trying to push us to the brink of death?”
Fangzheng smiled. “Patrons, do you think you lost out by returning money?”
“Yes!” Ma Jiangping wished to cry. This wasn’t just a loss, it was a tragic loss! Not only had they returned all the money they had borrowed over the years, their reputation was now rotten. They would be too embarrassed to go out and even if they didn’t go out, there was a chance that they would be gossiped about behind their backs. The more she thought about it, the colder her heart felt.
Fangzheng continued. “Patron, do you think This Penniless Monk came to help Patron Ma get back his loan?”
“Didn’t you?” Meng Changming asked bitterly.
Fangzheng shook his head and said, “Yes and no. This Penniless Monk also came to help you.”
“Help us?” Meng Changming and Ma Jiangping were taken aback. Then, Ma Jiangping curled her lips and said, “You sure helped us a lot. Thank you!” She spoke with utmost sarcasm.
Fangzheng took out his cell phone and swiped through it before handing it to Ma Jiangping. “Take a look.”
Ma Jiangping suspiciously took it and instantly, her expression changed.
Fangzheng said, “To not return money owed makes you a bad debtor. The country has recently set a law that all bad debtors are to be handled according to what’s stated. If Patron Ma had directly gone to the courts, all he would have needed to do was spend a few hundred yuan in legal fees to get the court to forcefully enforce the repayment of the debt, along with all the legal fees. Think about it. There’d be so many people and so much paperwork involved, how much money would that be? These would all be additional fees for you.”