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Home > The Monk That Wanted To Renounce Asceticism

1022 All Sorts of Gossip

 Fangzheng wasn't angry when he heard that. Instead, he said indifferently, "To be frank, my standing really isn't as high as that of poultry."

Red Boy was taken aback before contemplating over Fangzheng's words before asking in thought, "Master, you're kidding, right?"

"This Penniless Monk can only help him resolve his problems, but the poultry can help him survive, and even have a good year ahead. If you were him, who would you think is of higher standing?"

Red Boy decisively said, "Poultry!"

Fangzheng helplessly spread his hands and said, "That's right. If it were This Penniless Monk, This Penniless Monk would choose poultry as well. Let's head over to the store."

"Master, shouldn't we be dealing with important matters first? What's so interesting about this store?" Red Boy asked, perplexed.

Fangzheng smiled. "A store is a good place. Every village's store gathers all the big talkers in the village. This is a nexus for news exchange, not much different from the taverns in traditional wuxia novels. However, the people here aren't drinkers, but smokers."

Red Boy laughed. "They might as well rename it to a smoking den."

Fangzheng glared at him and said, "Don't speak nonsense. Those words aren't nice words in the history of China."

Red Boy shrank his neck back as he expressed his understanding.

As he spoke, the two walked into the store.

The store was quite a big place, being nearly fifty square meters large. There weren't many racks since it was a small business in the village. It sold things like oil, salt, sauces, vinegar, instant noodles, vermicelli, cigarettes, alcohol, and snacks. Most of the items were placed on tables. Many men and women were sitting there smoking and drinking while they chatted.

There were also people playing mahjong or cards, and there were people gathered around to watch. This made the store seem quite full.

The moment he pushed open the door, Fangzheng felt the thick smell of tobacco inundate him. He felt suffocated simply from one whiff of it before he felt like coughing. Upon seeing this, Red Boy hurriedly cast a spell to shield off the smoke, allowing Fangzheng to catch a breath of fresh air. He nodded in satisfaction and gave Red Boy a thumbs up.

Upon hearing the door open, the crowd subconsciously looked over. They immediately stopped gambling or chatting the moment they saw Fangzheng walk in. They stood up and greeted him.

"Hello, Abbot Fangzheng!"

"Wow, Abbot Fangzheng, what brings you here?"

"Abbot Fangzheng, have a seat over here."

"Abbot Fangzheng, why did you come down the mountain on such a cold day? Don't you get enough heat on the mountain? I have some charcoal at home. Do you want some?"

Upon hearing these simple voices, Fangzheng pressed his palms together, greeting and thanking everyone for their generosity. Even so, he was made to have a seat someone gave up, making him feel extremely embarrassed. Although he knew he had some merit to him, the number of people he had helped were still nothing to speak off. Furthermore, Five Rivers Village was rather far from Mt. One Finger, so the villagers here didn't enjoy that many benefits from One Finger Monastery. If there was anything, it was that a few children had been sent to One Finger Village to learn carving.

Taking this into account, Fangzheng felt really guilty. He felt that it wasn't right if he didn't repay them, considering how they treated him. He couldn't suppress this thought the moment it surfaced, but Fangzheng didn't have any good method to help these warm villagers. All he could do was take note of it for now.

Everyone began asking him a flurry of questions as Fangzheng drank two cups of water during this entire time. When they were almost done with their questions, he diverted the topic and asked, "Patrons, there's indeed a reason why This Penniless Monk came down the mountain. This Penniless Monk heard that just yesterday, a patron was found sleeping in a haystack and nearly froze to death. Is that true?"

Everyone was clearly taken aback when they heard Fangzheng's question.

Following that, all of them wore furious looks.

A man who was balding said, "Are you talking about Eighth Qiu? Hehe, that guy deserves it!"

Fangzheng was taken aback when he heard that. Eighth Qiu deserved it? How could anyone deserve freezing to death? Could it be that Honest Liu hadn't been speaking the truth?

"That Eighth Qiu really deserves it. Tell me, he was chased out by his daughter, and out of kindness, Old Jin took him in and wanted to report this to the police to help him and teach his unfilial daughter. But in the end, he refused to admit that he had been chased out when the police came. He said that he was running away from home, causing Old Jin to be reprimanded by the police for making a false report instead. He was nearly taken back to the station!" someone echoed.

Only then did Fangzheng realize that everyone was talking about something else. So the story was roughly the same as what Honest Liu had said.

Fangzheng asked with piqued curiosity, "Oh? He was chased out and forced to sleep in a haystack, but he still defended his daughter? This Eighth Qiu sure treats his daughter abnormally well."

The moment that was said, the furious mob actually nodded subconsciously.

The balding man added, "Sigh... If we're talking about Eighth Qiu, he's indeed a good man. Unfortunately, his kind heart was fed to the dogs."

"Why do you say so?" Fangzheng immediately asked.

Upon hearing Fangzheng's question, everyone began talking, sharing all sorts of gossip in discordant babbling. Thankfully, Fangzheng's brain functioned far better now than his stupid self could dream of back when he was still in school. He rapidly memorized what everyone was saying and did a summary before gradually understanding the situation of the Qius.

Eighth Qiu had this name not because he was the eighth child of the Qiu family, but because there were eight people with the last name of Qiu in Five Rivers Village. According to their ages, he happened to be ranked eighth. Eighth Qiu's wife had always had health problems and had given birth to their eldest daughter, Qiu Baihong, when she was younger. However, in that era, villages still preferred boys to girls, so Eighth Qiu always wished to have a son.

This resulted in him having plans for a second child, but when their second was born two years later, it was still a girl, Qiu Jinyu. Furthermore, Eighth Qiu's wife, who had always been so frail, died from childbirth.

Back then, Eighth Qiu felt guilt-ridden, convinced that his stubbornness had harmed his wife. Meanwhile, he had some resentment towards his second daughter deep in his heart. With life being difficult for him, he allowed another Qiu family in the village to adopt her. That family had been childless, so they were naturally very willing to adopt Qiu Jinyu.

Without a wife and with only one daughter, Eighth Qiu naturally treated his eldest daughter, Qiu Baihong, with the utmost care and concern. He would provide her with the most delicious food and best toys he could, but there wasn't much more to it until Qiu Baihong got married. Only then did everyone realize that the relationship between Qiu Baihong and Eighth Qiu was very delicate!The words 'smoking dens' can be mistaken for opium dens which were prevalent in China during the 19th century. Opium had debilitated China which eventually culminated into the Century of Humiliation.