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Just as expected, almost every tourist at the scene had taken pictures of or videotaped the accident, posting it on their social media accounts.

Famous as Phoenix Mountain already was in the province, when added to the fact that it was peak season at the moment, it wasn't surprising that the photos and videos have been shared by an insane amount of people. Even some major media and official accounts joined retweeting the news and cautioning their viewers.

The provincial TV was tipped off and wasted no time in sending reporters to the hospital and interviewing the people involved. The municipal government of Bai Town responded quickly. The person in charge of the management office came forward, sending out a unified message: they would take full responsibility for the wounded person and remove the potential threat to public safety.

Usually, incidents like this would occupy the front pages for a few days at most before they became forgotten. However, two more tourists ran into a venomous snake the following day.



The first person was rather lucky. Probably because of the size of the crowd, the snake dared not make any reckless move and someone even managed to take a photo of it. The other one was not as fortunate and was bitten in the calf. The attack took place on a path going downhill—no old priest was around to answer the emergency this time.

Boy, they did not see that coming. The management office sent the person to the hospital in a flurry, but could not name the exact type of the snake. Luckily, they were shown the photo and after repeated observation, the specialists identified it as an extremely rare kind of bamboo viper.

The specific anti-venom serum was not available in the local hospital and had to be brought from Shengtian. Anyway, it was a mess.

One snake-biting incident was something to crow about, multiple attacks for two days in a row, on the other hand, were something genuinely horrifying. The impact instantly was amplified by the internet, raising the topic to one of the top three hot issues on various websites.

"Those who are going sightseeing be aware! Be sure to avoid Phoenix Mountain! The most important thing should be repeated three times—There are snakes! There are snakes! There are snakes! "

"Awesome. Where is this Phoenix Mountain? I want to check out the snakes."

"Careful there, that bro upstairs, you might end up getting 'checked out' by a snake."

"Exactly, with that 'gifted' throat structure of snakes, it'll be a waste of resources just to 'check it out'!"

"Wow, what a pretty green snake! Xiao Qing, where is your big sister? Take me to her, please!" [1]

"Guys, seriously, snake's bite can kill you."

"That is a strange-looking snake, though, almost too pretty. Somebody please tell me more about it!"

Jokes aside, the direct consequence was a forty percent decrease in the number of trips to Phoenix Mountain booked through travel agencies and group buying sites. Daredevils did exist among us, but most people still cherished their lives.

At that, the municipal government could no longer sit still and called for an emergency conference.

Morning, in a conference room.

With the deputy mayor in charge of the incident taking the lead, a long row of officials from relevant departments sat along the table. They even invited a specialist as the speaker for the occasion, significantly raising the standard of the conference. After everyone was accounted for, the deputy mayor gave a brief introduction and signaled the specialist to begin.

The big screen was switched on, exhibiting a picture of a snake, which was characterized by a large head, thin neck and tiny scales on the top of its head. The snake was of an emerald green color from head to tail and a pair of vertical pupils were glistening somberly from its yellow eyes. It was an exquisite creature.

The specialist cleared his throat and started speaking. "Snakes such as this are called bamboo vipers—very commonly seen in southern China, they have also been spotted in Changbai Mountains and its surrounding areas. The amount of venom they release when biting is as little as 15 mg and a fatal dose requires an average of 100 mg. Therefore, despite multiple incidents of disablement among the existing snake-biting victims, seldom is the injury fatal. However…"

The specialist's tone turned grave as he continued. "Based on our test results and blood samples, the potency of this snake's venom has exceeded that of normal bamboo vipers. One bite from it without prompt treatment, and one's life is in danger."

"..."

People were gazing at one another with blank faces. Being bitten by a snake was one thing, but being bitten to death was a matter on a completely different level. The deputy mayor's face also darkened as he pursued, "Have you found out the reason?"

"Not yet. We can only look into the specifics after catching that snake," replied the specialist.

Hearing that, the deputy mayor knocked on the table and gave a direct order. "Old Li, I'll leave the task to your scenic spot. Set up a snake-catching team as soon as possible. Old Zhang, your people will cooperate with them. You have two days. Can you finish the job on time?"

"Of course!"

"No problem!"

Officials of the scenic spot and public security bureau answered to the request promptly and exchanged secretive glances, both groaning inwardly.

The snake-catching activity did not have a specific department responsible for it and was normally left to agricultural, forestry or even firefighting departments to deal with. Moreover, the mountain was covered in dense vegetation and unmarked paths, thus they would have a hard time finding people just to gather a searching team.

The deputy mayor followed with another question. "From what I've heard, the first victim was saved by a Taoist priest?"

"Yes. That priest had some medical skill and treated him with acupuncture."

"Is that priest from Ziyang Temple?"

"He's the abbot of Wuliang Temple on Lotus Mountain and is here on temporary stay."

"Oh?" The deputy mayor was slightly surprised and his tone turned much more polite after that. "Pay him a visit, then. It'll make it easier for us to ask him for further assistance should we need it."

"Yes, yes!"

"Definitely!"

About ninety years ago, the government invited the chiefs of all sects to Baiyun [TL/N: "White Cloud"] Temple in the capital city to compile a "General Registry of Cultivation Sects", noting down all 62 Taoist sects as well as establishing the Taoist association. It was under this occasion that the 62 sects received official qualifications from the government and fell under control of the association.

Apart from those 62 sects, there were others that were leading a reclusive and austere life, holding themselves aloof from the earthly world, not willing to accept the "amnesty". As a consequence, they were regarded as "amateurs" or "unqualified". Wuliang Temple was renowned in the province and as its abbot, Priest Mo had been endowed with a long list of titles, which made Phoenix Mountain too plain a place in comparison.

After settling the issues above, the others also offered their suggestions such as strengthening safety promotional activities in the scenic spot, assigning patrol personnel, equipping hospitals with more anti-venom serums, etc.

In the end, the deputy mayor concluded, "Tourism is the pillar industry of Bai Town and we are to be particularly fastidious with its related issues. I hope everyone will raise their awareness and unite in this time of trial so that we can get through it smoothly. That's all. The meeting's over!"

The crowd bustled out; trailing behind it were the two fellow sufferers.

Old Li crinkled his face and said under his breath, "Old Zhang, the boss has set us a very difficult task this time."

"Exactly. How are we supposed to find a single snake on that vast Phoenix Mountain? My entire police force won't be enough!" Old Zhang also complained.

"Hey, do you think those people of Phoenix Fair might be of some help?" The idea suddenly dawned on Old Li.

"You're right! They spend every day on the mountain and know their way around. We've asked them for help when developing the mountain back then."

Old Zhang's eyes brightened and made the decision right away. "Good, I'll send someone over now!"

That night, Phoenix Fair.

In the courtyard of the Fang family, the couple had just said goodbye to a policeman with fawning smiles. Uncle Fang was nodding ceaselessly. "Don't worry, it's not difficult at all. I can definitely sort it out for you."

"That's great. We'll drive here and pick you up tomorrow."

The couple did not return to their room immediately after the police left. Aunt Fang was a bit anxious. "Can you do it? I say we stay out of it. Don't get yourself into trouble."

"Tsk, don't you remember what I was like back in the day? I can use a snake for my new belt. Plus, I will only be there to give a hand. They have all those police around!"

Uncle Fang paused and gave the room a glimpse, then went on, "Our girl is going to high school. I should take every chance to earn some money."

"But…"

Aunt Fang opened her mouth, but did not say anything in the end.

[1] TL/N: "Xiao Qing" here refers to the famous Chinese legend "Madame White Snake", or "Legend of the White Snake" (白蛇传); the big sister is the Madame White Snake herself.

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