Translator: CKtalon Editor: CKtalon
Fangzheng hurriedly took out his phone, hoping to open the Maps app to figure out where he was. But the moment he took it out, he received a short message: “Welcome to Hengyang!”
Fangzheng nearly fainted. He had run all the way from Yongzhou to Hengyang! More importantly, Hengyang was north of Yongzhou, which meant that he had run in the opposite direction!
Lone Wolf came over and asked, “Master, what are you looking at?”
Fangzheng showed him the phone. Lone Wolf looked at it for a long time before he asked, confused, “Master, are you holding this upside down? Shouldn’t we be running in the direction of the sea?”
Fangzheng slapped him when he heard that. “Silly, I’m not holding it upside down. It’s you who led us in the opposite direction!”
Lone Wolf immediately said in grievance, “I don’t know the area. You were chasing after me, so I naturally ran without thinking.”
“Hehe, are you trying to explain yourself?” Fangzheng was about to launch into a tirade.
But then suddenly, their stomachs growled. They exchanged looks and realized that they were starving after running for so long. They had not noticed while having fun, but now that they had calmed down, their stomachs were protesting.
“Master, I’m hungry,” Lone Wolf said bitterly.
Fangzheng nodded. “Got it. Let’s go. Let’s find a place to eat.”
“Yes, yes, yes. Nothing is more important than eating.” Lone Wolf nodded.
Fangzheng learned his lesson quickly. Now, he turned on navigation as he ran towards a nearby residence while holding his cell phone the entire time. As they proceeded, Fangzheng kept zooming in and out of the maps as he examined his surroundings. On a careful look, Fangzheng was stunned. Apparently, he and Lone Wolf had entered Mount Heng!
They were already not far from a famous scenic area, and according to their distance, he would soon enter it if he walked a little more. Apparently, he was about to enter without buying a ticket…
Fangzheng immediately felt embarrassed when he realized this. At the same time, he removed the leafs on Lone Wolf’s body. Puzzled, Lone Wolf asked, “Master, what are you doing?”
“Making you look cleaner. I don’t want people to think we entered without tickets.”
“So what? Don’t we have money? We can just pay for it. Master, you mentioned that we shouldn’t take advantage of others,” Lone Wolf said righteously.
Fangzheng said with a bitter smile, “Money? You were urging me to leave back then, so in my agitation…”
“Don’t tell me you left the money with Keke?” Lone Wolf immediately had an ominous feeling.
Lone Wolf sprawled on the ground with a howl, and he yelled, “Didn’t I say I wouldn’t be going down the mountain? It only always ends in starvation. Even when I’m not starving, I’m being tempted by good food without being able to eat it. There’s no way I can continue living such days!”
Seeing the darn dog beginning to act shamelessly, Fangzheng smacked him. “Shut up. As a monk, it’s only a matter of time before you enter an ascetic phase. When the time comes, you won’t be able to bring anything with you. You won’t be allowed to take a single cent on your trip, and you will only be able to solicit for donations along the way. I want to know what will happen to you when that happens.”
Lone Wolf suddenly lifted his dog head and looked at Fangzheng in all seriousness. “Master, as Guardian Protector of One Finger Monastery, I’ll permanently station myself on the mountain to protect it! Whatever ascetic phase shall be left to you and the other junior brothers.”
Fangzheng kicked the good-for-nothing in reply. There was a saying that wolves were the animals most capable of enduring hunger, but from Fangzheng’s point of view, Lone Wolf equaled any of the animals who were famous for being able to eat the most.
No longer caring about the shameless wolf, Fangzheng picked a direction and started walking towards it. As he did so, he said, “Although we walked in the wrong direction, Mount Heng is considered a sacred land of Buddhism. Since we found ourselves here, it would be a pity if we didn’t take a look. Perhaps this was fated and we might come across an opportunity.”
Seeing Fangzheng leave, Lone Wolf hurriedly got up and followed. He swatted his tail and mumbled. “Yes, it was fated that I starve. It’s not something I can avoid. Sigh.” Lone Wolf knew that grumbling was useless. What he needed to do now was to divert his attention; otherwise, he would only become hungrier the more he thought about it. That would be even more torturous. Hence Lone Wolf asked, “Master, what kind of mountain is Mount Heng? It doesn’t look much different from the Changbai Mountains. It just doesn’t have snow. Oh, the trees are also different… But apart from that, I think it’s quite typical.”
Fangzheng rolled his eyes at him. “If we are talking about mountains, the Changbai Mountains and Mount Heng each have their own merit. When it comes to history, they have their strong points too, and they are both mysterious and extraordinary. But when it comes to Buddhist sacred lands, the Changbai Mountains are incomparable to Mount Heng. Mount Heng is also known as the Southern Mountain, Longevity Mountain, Mount Balance, and it is one of the five great mountains of China.
“According to the Ganshi Classic of the Constellations from the Warring States period, as it’s located at the wings of the Corvus constellation, one of the twenty-eight Lunar Mansions, it’s like a weighing apparatus that can balance the heavens and earth. Hence, it’s called Mount Balance.
“Mount Heng is a sacred land for both the Daoist religion and Buddhism. There are more than 200 monasteries, temples, and convents around it.
“Mount Heng is the place where legendary rulers like Emperor Yao and Emperor Shun sacrificed their hunts to the gods of land and grain, while Yu the Great prayed to the heavens there to stop a flood.
“Mount Heng’s mountain god is the Fire God, Zhurong, who the people worship. He was entrusted by the Yellow Thearch to guard over Mount Heng, teaching the people how to use fire. After he died, he was buried in Mount Heng’s Crimson Thearch Peak, and he is known locally as the Nanyue Sacred Thearch.
“Of the thirty-six Grotto-Heavens and seventy-two blessed locations in the Daoist religion, four of them are located on Mount Heng.
“Two of Shakyamuni Buddha’s sariputra relics which were obtained from his real body are hidden in the Diamond Relic Tower in Mount Heng’s Nantai Temple.
“Now, do you still think Mount Heng is average?” Fangzheng asked sternly.
Lone Wolf looked up and replied equally seriously, “Not at all. It’s indeed atypical. Master, I find myself adoring you even more.”
Fangzheng smiled delightfully. “Why?”
Lone Wolf said with a serious look, “I adore you for how you can act as though you are recalling all this information from memory despite regurgitating an encyclopedia entry from your phone. You don’t even blush when posturing. You really know how to bullsh*t!”
With that said, Lone Wolf howled and ran off.
Fangzheng grabbed another stick this time, yelling, “Heinous disciple, where do you think you’re going!?”
The two ran for a while and finally charged out of the forest. The moment they stepped onto a cemented pathway, they felt agitated, as though they had seen the light of day again. Everyone they saw looked like moving delicious mantou.
Since it was early winter and there weren’t any holidays around this time, there weren’t a lot of people on Mount Heng. While walking on the cemented pathway, towering ancient trees lined the sides. Although the path slightly lacked a natural beauty, its cleanliness also gave it beauty in a way.
From time to time, a feeder bus would zoom by. Lone Wolf would look at them and ask, “Master, can’t we take that?”
Fangzheng glanced at him and asked, “Do you have the money?”
Lone Wolf said in misery, “Master, did you not even keep some spare change?”
Fangzheng said with a bitter smile, “I was too agitated and gave it all. How could I have known we’d end up running here? Let’s not harp about this. Let’s walk faster. There’s a monastery up ahead. Let’s see if we can get a meal there.”
Lone Wolf’s eyes lit up immediately. “Yes, yes, yes. This is a Buddhist sacred land. With so many monasteries, it’s like our home ground. There’s no reason why we wouldn’t have food to eat here.”