Fangzheng discovered that Wanderer Tranquil was not only intrigued but a little happy as well. This was the joy from encountering a peer. He thought of the desolate surroundings, and thinking back to himself from last year, Fangzheng could easily empathize with Wanderer Tranquil. She was feeling the joy of meeting someone alive deep in the mountains! Just like Perfected Letian had said, humans were ultimately social creatures. Removing oneself from the mortal world served to cultivate ones body, while entering the mortal world served to cultivate ones mind. Only when both were achieved could one complete ones Dao. On this point, Perfected Letian had gone further than Fangzheng. However, Wanderer Tranquil was apparently inferior to Perfected Letian.
With this in mind, he answered, "This Penniless Monk does know a little about carvings."
"Venerable One, you are being humble. This Penniless Priests burnishing methods arent something the average person can see through. Venerable One, not only did you manage to notice something, you even managed to gain a deep understanding. Its truly extraordinary. This Penniless Priests Daoist temple hasnt had guests in years and since you are here, why dont you come in and take a seat? This Penniless Priest wishes to understand more of the outside world as well, to know how it has changed after all these years," Wanderer Tranquil said with a smile.
Fangzheng was stunned as he asked, "Perfected One, it sounds like you have been a recluse for many years?"
Fangzheng could tell that Wanderer Tranquil was in her thirties. If she had been a recluse for many years, didnt that mean that she had secluded herself in the mountains at a young age? However, to give up everything when she was in her prime as a woman, just when she was facing the best time of her life, be it romantically or otherwise? Wanderer Tranquil was probably someone with a story.
Wanderer Tranquil said with a smile, "Ten years. Venerable Fangzheng, this way, please."
As she walked, Wanderer Tranquil said, "This tiny mountain is rather remote, and there are no local specialties or minerals here. Apart from tortoise-shell bamboo, theres only shrubs. The flora is of little economic value, and there arent many old trees. However, the scenery isnt bad Still, its far inferior to that of other famous mountains out there. Therefore, its rare to see even one person come to this mountain in a year. Sorry for embarrassing myself with such a place."
As Wanderer Tranquil spoke, she smiled bitterly. She believed that Fangzheng had never been to such a crappy place his entire life. However, she was also curious why this monk would come all the way to the mountain.
However, the moment she said that, Fangzheng shook his head and said, "Perfected One, you might not be aware. The monastery that This Penniless Monk hails from is what you would call a godforsaken place. At the very least, you have green mountains and rivers. Where This Penniless Monk hails from, the mountain is sealed during winters with heavy snow. Basically no one goes up the mountain. Similarly, theres no one when it is scorching hot in summer. During spring, the villagers are busy farming, so the mountain still remains unvisited. Only during the autumn harvest are there people coming up the mountain to experience the autumn."
Upon saying this, Fangzheng felt like he was venting his misery, so he spoke extremely sincerely.
Wanderer Tranquil was quite surprised that someone would choose such a terrible place for cultivation like her. Immediately, she felt respect for Fangzheng and asked, "Back when This Penniless Priest secluded herself into the mountains, her friends said that This Penniless Priest was burying her prime years. Peers said that This Penniless Priest is a person with great tenacity, but in comparison to you This Penniless Priest is truly inferior!"
Fangzheng immediately felt miserable! Wanderer Tranquil had entered the mountains to cultivate by her own will, but what about him? He had been adopted by a monk from a young age. It could be said that his job had been allocated to him the moment he could walk! By the time he grew up and Zen Master One Finger passed away, the bastard system appeared, forcefully pressing down his bald head to do its will
With this in mind, Fangzheng could only smile bitterly. Yet, he couldnt show the smile. After all, this was something that made others think highly of him. Although it was a passive form of posturing, he couldnt give up on it midway.
In any case, Fangzheng politely denied his superiority.
As they spoke, the two circled around the small bamboo forest. Fangzheng saw a huge banyan tree whose crown almost blotted out the sky. It was like the treasured umbrellas of the four heavenly kings which protected everything beneath.
Behind the banyan tree was a two-story Daoist temple! The Daoist temple was similar to One Finger Monasteryit had a wall that surrounded the huge tree. The only difference was that One Finger Monasterys walls had been created by the System, making them tall and impressive. As for the walls here, they were different. They had been formed from a plant filled with thorns that had grown to the height of a person. The thorns were intertwined, and without any pruning, they formed a unique and natural fence. Although the construction lacked the grandeur of a wall, it fully presented the perfect charms of nature.
Upon seeing Fangzheng looking at the thorny plants, Wanderer Tranquil smiled. "Thats a local plant named the trifoliate orange. It has other names such as the Japanese bitter-orange, hardy orange, or Chinese bitter orange. Here, they are typically planted as hedges. It can be used medicinally to allow one to circulate ones Qi and treat prolapse of rectum. The seeds can be made into oil, while the leaves, flowers, and fruit skins can apparently be refined into a fragrance. However, This Penniless Priest hasnt managed to do that, nor would she have any use for it. Therefore, This Penniless Priest usually uses only the fruits and the oil and has the plant remain a fence.
Fangzheng marveled. "This is the first time This Penniless Monk is seeing such a wondrous plant. Theres really no end to the wonders of this world."
Wanderer Tranquil smiled without a word.
In the yard, there was a square table under a banyan tree. It was made of stone, and its surface was uneven. From time to time, water would drip from the banyan tree, splattering the table with droplets. That seemed to indicate the origins of the holes on the table.
There were several boulders to the side which held up a wooden plank that could be considered a chair.
However, what truly intrigued Fangzheng was the banyan tree beside the square table. The roots around the banyan tree twisted together into what looked like a chair!
Fangzhengs eyes lit up as he went up to the chair. He asked out of curiosity, "Perfected One, did this grow naturally?"
However, Wanderer Tranquil shook her head. "No, it was a result of circumstances, taking This Penniless Priest several years to produce."
Fangzheng became even more intrigued when he heard that.
Wanderer Tranquil wasnt stingy. She guided Fangzheng to his seat and took out an old tea set. Of the set, only the teapot made of Yixing clay looked extraordinary. Despite just pouring clear water, the water that came out had a tea fragrance to it!
Fangzheng was even more intrigued.
Wanderer Tranquil shook her head. She knew she would need to first answer the curious monk before she could start asking her own questions. Hence, she got Fangzheng to have some tea while she explained. "The reason why banyan trees can live so long has to do with its low-hanging roots. Through them, it absorbs nutrients from the land to maintain itself. To reach into the soil, these roots have extremely strong survivability. They can circle around stone and avoid obstacles to enter the soil. This Penniless Priest created barriers in places they were going to pass, and together with some rope to guide them, they were made to grow in a curvy manner as if they were braided. As these roots were braided together, they ultimately formed a chair. This Penniless Priest has used this chair for eight years."