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514 Scheming For The Bell

 "Nothing much. This Penniless Monk just came down to take a walk. Apparently a few special guests are staying at your place today. Is that true?" Fangzheng was obviously not there for a random walk. Uncle Da and company gave him an ominous feeling, so out of worry, he came down to take a look.

"They are indeed special. These people do not seem like your usual city folk. They smell like soil, as though they were wallowing in mud all day." Dog Song shared his analysis with Fangzheng.

Fangzheng nodded slightly. "Patron Song, what do you think they do?"

"Hehe, you asked the right person. Although I'm a master of none type of person, it's also precisely because I'm a jack of all trades that I learned some unorthodox stuff. What kind of people would frequently wallow in mud and trenches? Archaeologists? They definitely don't look anything like it. If they aren't archaeologists, they must be earth rats. Put nicely, you can call them treasure hunters, but to put it bluntly, they're tomb raiders, and even worse, they are nothing but grave robbers! They dig up the ancestral graves of others and sell the artifacts they find to syndicates," said Dog Song.

"Oh? Patron, do you have any proof?"

"Of course not, but I'm still quite sharp. However, all of this is a guess on my part. It can't be treated as a holy truth. By the way, I can't keep talking to you. I have to find a guide for them to lead them up the mountains."

Fangzheng's eyes lit up. "Up the mountains? Which mountain do they want to climb?"

"Mt. Tongtian. I heard from the elderly when I was young that a king was apparently buried up there in the past. However that was only a legend. So who knows if it's true. Anyway, so many years have passed, and so many people have gone there. It's not like I've seen anyone dig up any king's bounty," said Dog Song.

Fangzheng smiled. "Then there's no need to search further. This Penniless Monk will be their guide. What's your take on that?"

"You?" Dog Song was surprised before he smiled wryly. "Come on, although you were quite mischievous when you were little, I doubt you ever entered Mt. Tongtian, right? At best, you loitered around its periphery. How are you to guide them?"

Fangzheng smiled. "Don't worry. This Penniless Monk naturally has means to lead the way. Don't forget that my monastery's wolf came from Mt. Tongtian. It shouldn't be a problem to guide them."

"Really?" asked Dog Song.

Fangzheng nodded in affirmation. "Of course!"

"Alright then. I'll tell them." Dog Song immediately nodded before asking, "Abbot Fangzheng, how much do you plan to charge them for the guide fee?"

"Five hundred for the periphery. Any deeper will cost a thousand." Fangzheng had no real intention to charge a fee since the System had said that he could not do any trades that profited him. However if Fangzheng did not accept a fee, they would probably not dare hire him. In addition, Fangzheng had no intention to keep the money. Even if he did, he would donate it away. He had probed the System with such a thought once, and as expected, the System had not made a sound. That meant that it did not object to it!

Fangzheng immediately felt his eyes well with tears. He had finally found a means to earn money! Although the money would ultimately not be his, donating it would also gain him merit, right? Hehe...

"Alright." Dog Song nodded as he brought Fangzheng back into the house.

"You are going to be our guide?" Zhang Zi looked in surprise at the bald monk in front of him.

"Why? Do you look down on our Abbot Fangzheng? I'm telling you that he's very formidable. If there were a ranking in One Finger Village about who knows the back mountain the best, no one would dare claim to be better than Abbot Fangzheng! I got the best one for you! Anyone slightly inferior wouldn't do. If you don't trust me, look at the plaque hanging on my door. That role model title is not just empty wind. Ask around the village and see who doesn't know my reputation. It's solid, I tell you!" Dog Song patted his chest loudly. There was no need for Fangzheng to say a word as he uplifted Fangzheng to the heavens with his bragging.

He had previously been a hooligan, after all; he might not be good at anything else, but bragging was his forte! Most importantly, he could convince even himself with his own bragging! That confidence would make anyone really believe him if they did not know him.

And indeed, Zhang Zi did not think that Dog Song was exaggerating in any way. He looked back at Uncle Da.

Seated on a stove bed, Uncle Da who was smoking said with a smile, "Alright!"

"Alright?" Ying Zi and Zhang Zi looked in astonishment at Uncle Da. They were planning on taking away the bell on Mt. One Finger. If they brought the monk along with them and allowed him to see them tomb raiding, wouldn't it caution him?

However, Uncle Da did not explain further as he smiled. "I feel assured if the Venerable One guides us. We will set out early tomorrow once day breaks. Uhm, we can set off after the bell and drum are struck."

Fangzheng pressed his palms together. "Amitabha. That would be good indeed. No problem."

As for the price, Uncle Da quickly agreed to it the moment Dog Song named the price. After the discussion, Fangzheng bade them farewell and returned to the mountaintop.

The moment Fangzheng left, Zhang Zi and Ying Zi looked at Uncle Da.

He sneered. "This monk has apparently noticed something amiss. If he wants to go, let him. I was still vexing over the problem of how to redirect him away from the mountain. He's the only person on that mountain. The rest are only beasts and a child. If the monastery ends up missing some things, hehe... Besides, there are so many wolves and boars in the mountains. If he were to get lost or suffer an accident, the blame can't be pinned on us, right?"

"Uncle Da, what if someone figures something out?" asked Zhang Zi.

"That would still have nothing to do with us. We will be in the mountains!" said Uncle Da smugly.

"Uncle Da, have you found help?" Zhang Zi suddenly seemed to realize something.

"Obviously! That bell probably weighs tons. Just the few of us will not be able to move it. How are we to get it down from such a tall mountain? Ambition is a good thing, but it will always test if your appetite is sufficient. If not, you might end up choking to death." Uncle Da rolled his eyes at Zhang Zi before continuing. "I have contacted Boss Xiong. I provided the information and ideas, while he's responsible for the manpower. We will split fifty-fifty after everything is done. Don't scoff at that. If we can really sell off the bell, the money we earn will be enough to support you for a few lifetimes."

"Uncle Da, I wouldn't have realized it if you had not mentioned it. There's no way to move such a huge bell without a crane, right? The mountain path was steep, so cranes have no way of going up. It's impractical to use just human force, right?" asked Ying Zi.

"Not practical? If it's not practical, how did the bell reach the mountaintop? Don't forget that the bell has several centuries under its belt. There were no cranes centuries ago either. I'm also curious about how the ancients did it, though." When Uncle Da said that, he sighed. "Both of you have only recently come into contact with this line of work. In the future, you will realize how impressive the ancients were from the things you see! Many of the things they were capable of are still unachievable by modern means."

"Uncle Da, you haven't mentioned your idea after all this talk. Tell me, I'm rather curious."

"What's the point of your head if you ask me everything? Do you use it to store sh*t? Think about it yourself! And go to sleep early. We still have to rise and shine early tomorrow. Today while on the mountaintop I noticed that the terrain of Mt. Tongtian is rather special. There's probably some good stuff. Perk yourselves up for tomorrow. If any one of you fumbles the ball, I won't be bringing you along with me anymore." After Uncle Da said that, he went to sleep, ignoring Zhang Zi's and Ying Zi's burning curiosity.