Chen Jing was on the verge of mentally collapsing. He had hoped for a devotee to show up so that he would have the advantage of public opinion on his side to force Fangzheng into submission. However, no one came after he had waited an entire day. Seeing how it was turning dark again and recalling the experience he had the previous night, Chen Jing felt that he would end up crazy.
He could ignore the growling of his hungry stomach, but he felt pain if he walked a little faster. It was as if the brick was rolling around in his stomach.
It hurt when he moved. But if he didn't, he felt the cold and hunger.
As the moon slowly rose into the sky, Chen Jing felt the object in his abdomen begin to move downwards. He clenched his anus tightly out of fear. Was he about to deliver?
Upon coming to the realization that he really might, Chen Jing was truly scared out of his wits. Even for an ordinary childbirth, one would need a midwife and various preparations. In this land of snow, if he were to truly undergo childbirth... What if, what if he ended up dying?
The more Chen Jing thought about this, the more afraid he became.
The fear drained his strength, and he collapsed to the ground. The object in his abdomen kept sinking downward. It felt as if the sky was collapsing as his mind turned chaotic. He did not want to think about anything and in his despair, he felt like giving up. He felt no hope.
An unknown period of time passed as Chen Jing eventually sighed and said, "Forget it. We never had a grudge to begin with. Yet, I wanted to tarnish his reputation. Perhaps, this is my retribution. Perhaps, this is what it means for evil to beget evil. Having a child? I'll just have it. Since I have sinned, I should bear the consequences..."
Having thought things through, Chen Jing gritted his teeth and stood up, in preparation to descend the mountain.
At that moment, he heard a Buddhist proclamation from the temple. "Amitabha, very good indeed. Patron, your repentance is truly worth congratulating."
The moment the voice faded away, Chen Jing felt his belly lighten. Looking down, his huge belly had deflated!
"This!" Chen Jing looked at the seemingly impossible scene in front of him in shock. Then, he turned his head to look at the tiny One Finger Temple. He suddenly felt the temple's tall and almighty presence! It was extremely magnificent and surpassed all other huge monasteries!
Chen Jing returned and kowtowed in the direction of One Finger Temple thrice and said, "Thank you, Master!"
He had said his thanks but did not even know for what. However, both Chen Jing and Fangzheng knew what the other meant. They laughed simultaneously.
Fangzheng was laughing at the bit of merit he had gained. The only thing he wasn't happy about was that Chen Jing's karma had befallen him, so he did not receive a chance at the draw.
Chen Jing laughed because he had realized his inadequacies after all the vicissitudes he had undergone. He believed that he could absolutely retrieve what he had lost and go further and higher!
However, Chen Jing's troubles were not over yet. Just after he came home, his parents came looking for him. Despite his explanations, they forcefully sent him for a check-up at the hospital.
Then, the reporters that rushed over, Dr. Sun, Professor Wu, Director Zhao, and company were collectively dumbfounded!
"Where's the child? Where's Brick?" As everyone looked at the brand new Doppler ultrasound, their mind was filled with questions.
"Dad, Mom, see? Didn't I say there's no need to come? I already said that I wasn't pregnant! I'm a grown man. How can I be pregnant? It's their machine that is faulty!" Having said that, Chen Jing dragged his parents away.
Dr. Sun looked around him. He heaved a sigh of relief when he noticed that Tang Tang was not around. There was no need for him to eat the machine...
Professor Wu berated angrily, "What exactly is going on?"
Dr. Sun looked up into the sky as he said, "Maybe, perhaps, possibly, the machine is faulty..."
Director Zhao had long run off. He did not wish to bear any more of this burden.
As for the reporters, they treated it as a farce and left in disappointment.
It was Director Zhao who did not return home. He chased after Chen Jing and pulled him aside. He whispered a question, "Where did you go last night?"
Chen Jing feigned ignorance and said, "I didn't go anywhere special. I wasn't in a good mood, so I went drinking to liven my mood. Why?"
"Drinking? A monk can drink?" Director Zhao said as an idea came to him.
The moment Chen Jing heard that, he felt his heart tighten. He nearly blurted, "How did you know?" However, he was someone who lived through tough times in an unforgiving society. At this critical moment, he shifted his thoughts and said, "Director, why would I drink with a monk for nothing? Furthermore, there are no monks in the county city. What are you getting at?"
Director Zhao looked suspiciously at Chen Jing. Unfortunately, he could not tell if there was anything amiss from his face. He could only resign his efforts.
However, Director Zhao remained indignant. He had a nagging feeling that this matter was likely related to Mt. One Finger! He knew about the relationship between Chen Jing and Mt. One Finger. This fellow had criticized the monk from One Finger Temple quite terribly...
"I must go take a look when I have the time. I want to see what sort of place it is," Director Zhao mumbled to himself before returning to the hospital.
At daybreak on the second day, Fangzheng climbed out of bed early in the morning. He swept the temple hall as the day started.
When he had nothing to do, he would look at the money in his bank account. Fangzheng felt as if he was living in heaven.
The calligraphy competition and some other matters brought had many visitors in the past two days. Unfortunately, it was almost winter. Few people would ascend the mountain now, because the weather was cold and the road was slippery. Those who still did were mostly fit youngsters or people who wanted to pray for children.
In a blink of an eye, half a month passed. Fangzheng was very satisfied with his results of having thirty sticks of incense lit. According to his current rate of progress, it would be possible for him to complete the mission by spring! He did not know what the System would reward him with this time.
However, Fangzheng had not been very happy for the past two days. The reason was simple. There was a thief in the temple!
"What the hell! My Crystal Rice has depleted again! What is going on!? Lone wolf! Come here and tell me honestly, did you steal it?" Fangzheng glared at Lone Wolf.
Lone Wolf whimpered.
"It's not you? Who else in this temple can touch the Crystal Rice other than me and you? It's best you be honest for honesty brings leniency. Resistance will only make it worse," said Fangzheng.
Lone Wolf yelped in an aggrieved manner.
"It's really not you?"
"Heh? Seriously, what the heck. Who could have stolen it?" Fangzheng mumbled to himself as he brought Lone Wolf to the side of the rice jar and said, "Here's a mission for you. Watch the rice bucket! If there's any decrease in rice tomorrow, your rations will be deducted!"
Lone Wolf nodded his head incessantly. The rice that was gone was also part of his rations. He, too, was infuriated! He wanted to see who the bastard who did not understand the immensity of the universe was. How dare he steal Grandpa Wolf's possessions and even make him the scapegoat!?
In the middle of the night, Fangzheng was sleeping soundly when he suddenly heard Lone Wolf's growling. He immediately got up and yelled, "Did you catch him?"
Fangzheng ran all the way to the kitchen and when he reached it, he was immediately dumbfounded!
He saw Lone Wolf blocking the door with his head raised up at the ceiling. He was looking furious but helpless.
Fangzheng looked at the ceiling and saw a bushy-tailed squirrel crouching on a ceiling beam. It was looking down and having a glaring match with Lone Wolf! One should not underestimate its tiny size, for it did not appear weak in the standoff. It flashed its tiny claws at Lone Wolf as it squeaked, "What are you shouting for? This is mine! I got the rice through my own abilities. Why should I return it to you? Come up if you are so capable! If you come up here, I'll return it to you!"
Lone Wolf yelped, "Little bastard, you stole what belongs to me. Come on down. It's wishful thinking if you believe I won't eat you!"
The two continued exchanging sentences, but it was not a matching conversation. After a moment of thought, Fangzheng understood that the two animals were not of the same species. They did not know what the other party was saying and could only holler at each other.