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Home > The Monk That Wanted To Renounce Asceticism

1156 You Are Worth The Price

 Fangzheng and Ji Han nodded. Ji Han smiled happily and continued running forward.

Fangzheng hurriedly followed.

Ji Han ran very quickly. In the beginning, Fangzheng still didn't understand why he was running so desperately. Only when Fangzheng chased after him did he realize that Ji Han had run ahead to flatten the path and get rid of the shrubs that stood in the way...

Fangzheng really couldn't imagine how that tiny body could have so much strength. He was touched, and at the same time, he increasingly felt that the money in his pocket was insufficient.

As for the bag of money, Fangzheng instinctively didn't dare touch it. He had a nagging feeling that the money would have some other use.

Just as Ji Han had said, it took nearly two hours to get past the second mountain if they were quick. Standing on the mountain, one could already see the lights at the foot of the mountain. However, there were not many of them. There were only a few sparse points of light. In the middle of the fort, a huge bonfire burned. It illuminated the small square in the middle.

Along the way, Ji Xiang became familiar with Fangzheng, and the girl spoke a lot more.

Ji Xiang explained. "Although our village has electric lines, the electricity bill is too expensive. The typical household doesn't need it. Only when there are guests, during the holidays, or when there are children at home who need to study, will people switch on the lights. Usually, people gather firewood, set up a bonfire at night, and sit around it chatting instead."

A bonfire was something that was worth being happy about for most people.

Fangzheng also liked bonfire parties, but at that moment, for some reason, he felt a little sad.

How poor were they to not bear paying for electricity, to actually live in ancient society despite being in a modern one?

Without giving Fangzheng much time to think, Ji Han was already shouting. Fangzheng hastened his footsteps.

Although it was tiring to climb up the mountain, it was even harder to go down it as there were no stairs. People could only rely on their own balance. With it being dark, even a monkey like Ji Han fell several times. However, Ji Han was hardy and was fine despite falling. After watching this happen a few times, Fangzheng realized that Ji Han's falls were deliberate. He fell in a very particular manner so that he wouldn't hurt himself as he avoided dangerous areas.

However, Fangzheng knew that this was definitely something that could only be done after experiencing it hundreds or thousands of times. If a path was easily accessible, who would be willing to gain experience from such falling?

Shaking his head, Fangzheng slowed down his pace and took care of Ji Xiang behind him, lest she fall so miserably as well.

Although it was difficult to go down the mountain, at least it was much faster than going up. About an hour later, the three of them arrived at the foot of the mountain, and they could see the Tuyao Fort.

Ji Han and Ji Xiang cheered in victory, and Fangzheng also laughed.

However, Fangzheng knew that it was time to pay the bill.

Hence, Fangzheng came to Ji Han and asked, "Ji Han, how much do I owe you?"

Ji Han's smile froze when he heard that. Then, he turned bashful. Clearly, he was a money-grubber, but when the time came to actually collect it, his simplicity made him too embarrassed to name a price.

Fangzheng encouraged him. "You earned it with your own abilities, so you can take it with a clear conscience. How much do you think you should earn this time?"

Ji Han's eyes lit up when he heard that.

Ji Xian, who was a little excited, bit her lip and tugged at Ji Han's sleeve with her tiny hand, as though she was saying: "Don't ask for too much..."

Fangzheng really didn't know how much he should give the guileless siblings. Therefore, he let Ji Han name the price. As long as Fangzheng had the required amount, he would definitely give it to him.

Finally, Ji Han extended his hand and raised three fingers. "Thirty, is that okay?"

Fangzheng asked reflexively, "How much?"

Ji Han thought that it was too much, and Ji Xiang quickly tugged at Ji Han. The young lady was so anxious that she was about to cry. Ji Han hurriedly said, "It's fine if it's less... Twenty is fine too."

Fangzheng looked at Ji Xiang who was close to tears and then at the panicking Ji Han. Thinking back to Ji Han's busy figure throughout their entire journey, Fangzheng sighed. He took out his wallet and removed all the money inside. Fangzheng didn't know how much he had, but from the thickness, it looked like a thousand yuan.

Fangzheng grabbed Ji Han's hand and said, "This is what you deserve. Remember, you made a living with your own abilities and served with your heart. That's priceless! Never underestimate yourself. You are worth the price!"

After Fangzheng said that, he patted the heads of the two children. At that instant, Fangzheng saw Ji Han and Ji Xiang's tears fall. Ji Han's hands trembled as he took the money. However, Fangzheng knew that it wasn't because there was too much money, but because of the respect he had earned.

"Plop!" Before Fangzheng could react, Ji Han suddenly knelt down and kowtowed to Fangzheng.

Fangzheng hurriedly stepped aside and asked, "What are you doing?"

Ji Han said, "Thank you, Brother Chang. It's not about the money, but... Anyway, I'm bad with words, but I know I should thank you."

Ji Xiang also said, "Brother Chang, take the money back. What you just said was more important than money."

Fangzheng was taken aback as he hurriedly helped the two children up. He said with a smile, "The money was obtained through your labor. The words were my gift to you. We haven't arrived at the Tuyao Fort yet, so your job isn't over. Aren't you going to lead the way?"

When Ji Han and Ji Xiang heard this, they immediately laughed.

Ji Xiang suddenly seemed to turn into a flying bird as she ran forward with a string of pearly laughter. As she ran, she said, "Welcome to Tuyao Fort! Heh heh..."

Ji Han scratched his head in a daze as he looked at the money in his hand. He smiled foolishly and said, "Brother Chang, I feel like I'm dreaming. I'm in a daze. Can you pinch me?"

When Fangzheng pinched his little face, Ji Han said with a sobbing tone, "It doesn't hurt... Oh no, it's really a dream!"

Fangzheng immediately laughed out loud. He raised his hand and slapped Ji Han on the back of his head. Ji Han gritted his teeth in pain but laughed even more happily. "It hurts! It's not a dream. Haha..."

When Ji Han was done laughing, Fangzheng asked, "Ji Han, why did you ask for thirty yuan?"

Ji Han didn't ask for too much or too little, but Fangzheng had a nagging feeling that something was amiss.

Ji Han looked at Ji Xiang running away happily and said in a low voice, "It's Ji Xiang's birthday the day after tomorrow. I want to buy her a cake, and I've already made my choice. There's a cake shop in the county city that makes beautiful cakes. They have a small fruit cake that costs twenty yuan. The remaining ten yuan can cover my transportation costs. Brother Chang, you might be unaware, but my sister really loves cakes. Last year, Uncle Iron's sister celebrated her birthday. He came back for her birthday and bought her a cake that was the size of two palms-the kind with candles on it. It looked really pretty when they were lit. Back then, Uncle Iron gave us a tiny piece too. That taste was... Hmm..."

Ji Han looked intoxicated as he waved his hand and said, "My sister said when we returned home that it would be great if she could have such a birthday once. From that day onwards, I had been thinking of how to earn money. However, the money I earn is too little. I barely have enough for our lives and my sister's school fees. When the amount is great, it's really hard to earn it..."

Fangzheng's heart palpitated when he heard that. He asked, "You are earning money to support your family? Where are your other family members?"

Fangzheng remembered that the siblings always talked about their mother. Could it be?

Upon being asked, Ji Han's happy face instantly froze. Then, his eyes became moist as he turned his head away, as if he didn't want Fangzheng to see him cry. He tried his best to use a voice he thought to be cheerful and said, "My dad left many years ago for work and never came back. My mom had a major illness two years ago, and the villagers carried her out. Before they could exit the mountain, she passed away."

Fangzheng touched Ji Han's head and said, "I'm sorry."

Ji Han shook his head and said, "It's fine. Let's go. The village is up ahead."

With that said, Ji Han ran off as well. Fangzheng knew that the boy didn't want him to see him cry. He was a strong and prideful boy. He didn't want to show his weakness to others.

The Tuyao Fort was much smaller than Fangzheng had imagined. There were only a hundred people in the village. Most of them were elderly, women, and children.

Fangzheng's arrival made it seem like the entire village had arrived at the zoo. However, the only animal in the zoo was Fangzheng. Everyone curiously sized up the outsider. However, the Tuyao Fort folks were very warm and didn't ostracize him. Instead, they greeted him one by one.

Thankfully, Fangzheng was well-versed in all sorts of languages. Faced with their dialect, Fangzheng was able to answer them with ease.

"You know how to speak our Lahu language?" an old man asked in surprise, "Are you a Lahu?"

Fangzheng shook his head and said, "I can only speak it, but not write."

The moment that was said, the elderly, women, and children laughed.

The elder said, "You don't know how to write it? Neither do we!" Then, the elder laughed again.

Fangzheng was dumbfounded. He had no idea what he was laughing about.

At this moment, Ji Xiang came over and whispered. "Although us Lahu have our own language, we don't have a written language, so we can speak it, but no one can write."

Fangzheng was instantly rendered speechless. "..."

"Alright, fellow villagers. We have a guest in our village. Where's the music? Where's the dancing?" the old man spread out his arms and said in a magnanimous manner.

When everyone heard that, they responded and dispersed, leaving Fangzheng alone.

Fangzheng scratched his nose and looked around, thinking to himself, "This Lahu tribe's hospitality sure is warm... There's no one left."

Fangzheng did not wander around. Instead, he sat by the bonfire, pondering over what to do next.

Just as Fangzheng was pondering over the matter, he heard footsteps around him. He saw the villagers who had been sitting there moments ago appear in their Lahu costumes. The men were wearing black shirts, while the women were wearing long black dresses with silver accessories hanging from their hands. The long dresses accentuated the women's graceful figures, making them look extremely beautiful.

Even the older ladies looked much younger wearing these clothes. All of them looked energetic and spirited. Standing there, Fangzheng felt like he was looking at fashion models.

And the men were holding musical instruments that looked like they were tied together by several tubes. Ji Xiang explained. "This is a lusheng, a favorite musical instrument of our Lahu tribe. Grandpa Tie is the best at blowing the lusheng."