"...There are no signs of the foggy weather stopping any time soon. As we all know, it has covered the world for the past month and its breadth and concentration is constantly increasing. We would like to ask our viewers to please pay attention to your safety and drive slowly when you go out. Now let's welcome our weather expert to share his opinion and comment about…"
Looking at the so-called experts in their fancy suits babbling on about stuff they didn't even believe, Jiang Shaoliu turned off the TV and craned his neck to look out the window.
The dense, milky-white fog had covered nearly the entire world. With less than 5 meters of visibility during the day, it was easy to bump into other people while walking down the street, not to mention the dangers of driving under these conditions.
"Damn this weather," Jiang Shaoliu murmured as he shoved his medical tools and his packed lunch into a bag and went out.
He was a veterinarian who worked at the Yungang City Zoo. When he had the time, he also volunteered by taking care of the monkeys on Mount Huaguoshan - a famous scenic spot in China.
There was no known reason for the heavy fog appearing last month and lasting till now. The monkeys on the mountains also suffered, breaking their legs after falling down cliffs or from treetops because they couldn't see clearly. Helping the regular Mount Huaguoshan vets with all these injuries kept Jiang Shaoliu quite busy these days.
The fog obscured the mountain and all its beautiful scenery, but Jiang was so familiar with the roads and streams in the area by that point, that he could navigate the area by himself without having one of the park employees guide him.
The alpha male monkey - the vets of Mount Huaguoshan jokingly called him 'the monkey king' - had broken his arms yesterday. Jiang was just coming in to check up on it, in case it suffered another injury during recovery. It had been acting pretty wild after the last treatment.
When he reached the top of the mountain, he took Doctor Wang's place as the physician on duty and asked him about the monkey king. Doctor Wang said with a puzzled look on his face: "He's perfectly fine. Strange, isn't it? The injury was so serious yesterday, but today the little fellow is active and jumping around as if nothing happened. Amazing how quickly it recovered!"
Jiang Shaoliu gave him an incredulous look. "But his bones were snapped in half! How could they have healed overnight?"
"Not only did the bones heal, there aren't even any scars. The patient's arms are as good as new!" Doctor Wang smiled and added: "Doctor Liu has already taken it to the veterinary research institute. You can go and have a look yourself if you want, but there's not much left to do today, really."
After Doctor Wang left, Jiang Shaoliu intended to go check up on the other monkeys, but after deliberating for a while, he decided to go to the research institute and have a look at the monkey king.
After a quick call to Doctor Liu, he rode a taxi to the institute of veterinary medicine at the Academy of Agricultural Sciences and went straight to the laboratory where Doctor Liu kept the monkey.
It was sitting in its cage calmly and made a happy squeak when it saw Jiang Shaoliu enter, stretching its hands out to him.
Jiang Shaoliu smiled and offered it an apple. The monkey king snatched the apple and took a bite out of it with excitement, then threw it away.
"Don't you like apples?" Jiang Shaoliu smiled and gave the monkey a banana.
The monkey king took the banana, but only blinked its eyes at Jiang Shaoliu expectantly.
He didn't point a finger at it, but there was definitely something unusual about that monkey today. Perhaps it was a little less beastly and a little cleverer?
Jiang Shaoliu opened the cage and carefully checked the monkey king's arms, finding to his surprise that the bones had indeed completely recovered, just as Doctor Wang had said.
He was about to check again, just to make sure, when he suddenly froze and slowly turned his head to the window.
"The fog is gone!" A bright ray of light shone through the window, splitting the heavy fog. It was as if a curtain had been pulled aside, bathing the room in light.
Jiang Shaoliu stuck his head out the window and looked up, watching as the fog rapidly dissipated.
However, behind the quickly fading fog there seemed to be a huge patch of black, which covered the sky.
"What is that?" Jiang Shaoliu shouted and gaped at the sky with wide-open eyes. A huge mountain that reached into the clouds hung in the air, covering almost the entire sky.
On the mountain were lines of trees, shadowy pavilions, terraces, as well as open halls with a thick aura of antiquity.
Jiang Shaoliu could not believe his eyes. This was completely contrary to his understanding of reality.
"Is this a mirage?" He rubbed his eyes. However, the floating mountain was still there.
Is this why it has been so foggy over the past month? Could this mountain have been hanging in the air the whole time? Jiang Shaoliu's hand slowly reached for the mobile phone in his pocket to call his friend, Zhao Yang.
A shaking voice answered, "Shaoliu, are you seeing the damn mountain in the sky?! My god, it must be at least 100,000 miles up! Everyone was freaking out, screaming in the streets…"
Jiang Shaoliu could faintly hear women screaming and babies wailing over the phone. He slowly said: "I was just about to ask you the same thing… What that hell is that?"
"I don't know, maybe it's the immortals coming down from Heaven? Well, at least I know they're real now." Zhao Yang had always enjoyed reading web novels and was crazy about cultivation and Qi. He wasn't afraid at all, but very excited.
Jiang Shaoliu wasn't as giddy. He had an ominous feeling that something bad was about to happen.
"This can't be good… Well, I'll see you later. Take care of yourself, man."
After hanging up, Jiang Shaoliu thought about checking what people were posting online to see if there was any explanation.
"Chirp, chirp, chip!" came an urgent cry from the monkey king.
Jiang Shaoliu turned around and saw the monkey king tweaking its ears and scratching its cheeks anxiously.
"Do you want to come out?" he hesitated before carefully opening the cage.
The monkey jumped out from the cage, then suddenly turned around and grabbed Jiang Shaoliu's sleeve, pulling him in the direction of the door
He was taken by surprise and staggered back, feeling a shot of panic well up inside him. The Huaguoshan monkeys were usually good-natured and didn't hurt people, but he was really alarmed by this monkey's behavior. He tried to shake off the monkey's arm, but the little thing had an iron grip.
"Let me go! What do you want?"
Seeing Jiang Shaoliu struggling, the monkey king twisted its face and started making strange sounds, still tugging at his sleeve as it anxiously pointed to the sky outside the window.
Suddenly, Jiang Shaoliu felt the ground shake slightly.
He froze for a moment and felt it shake again. There was a dull booming sound coming from below his feet, and the whole building was shaking.
The table moved and the monkey's cage fell down to the floor. All the other animals in the laboratory started screaming and rattling their cages in fear.
The monkey king became increasingly nervous. It roared suddenly, and Jiang Shaoliu felt himself pulled by a great strength, dragged outside the lab by the monkey.
Could it be… the monkey wanted to take him to a safe place? Struck with this sudden inspiration, he ceased struggling and followed that monkey king out of the research institute to the street.
At that moment, a distant boom rolled over the city, as if a hole was torn open in the sky or a demon burst forth from the ground. Jiang Shaoliu couldn't keep his footing on the shaking ground and fell down on his backside.
People on the street were screaming and covering their heads, huddling in the doorways of buildings or under trees.
The streetlights all fell down and got smashed. Across the street, a huge billboard dropped and hit a parked vehicle. The car alarm blared, adding to the panic and confusion.
The whole city was shaking and buildings were starting to sink and tip over as their foundations gave in. With a sudden crash, the whole street drowned under a tidal wave of smoke and dust.
Sporadic cries for help could be heard, but nobody bothered with them. Everyone was too afraid and didn't know what to do.
The monkey king screamed at Jiang Shaoliu, dancing around and pointing in the direction of the distant Mount Huaguoshan.
"Do you want me to go to Huaguoshan? That's too dangerous! There's an earthquake!" Jiang Shaoliu shouted at the monkey.
The monkey king jumped up and down a few times before settling down. It nodded and tugged at his sleeve.
It slowly occurred to Jiang Shaoliu that animals had better foresight than humans. Perhaps… it would be safer on Mount Huaguoshan?
The earthquake became stronger and stronger. It was impossible to stand upright without holding onto something by that point, and Jiang Shaoliu had no choice but to crawl through the dust and smoke after the monkey king.
A loud, thunderous boom echoed in the sky. He looked up and his eyes widened.
Beams of golden light rained from the sky, striking the grass, the asphalt, the trees… Those flowers and grasses started growing at an insane rate, winding higher and higher like twisting snakes. Before long, they had grown to several meters in height.
The sturdy vines penetrated the buildings and crawled back out through broken windows. A car was lifted up and hung precariously in the air.
"Holy hell!" Jiang Shaoliu cried out, almost tripping over a still-growing vine. To his surprise, a gigantic insect suddenly shot out through a window, flying straight past him.
Jiang Shaoliu screamed in terror. It was a moth with a one meter wingspan, its body as thick as his leg. The beating of its wings sounded like a helicopter's rotors.
Screams rang out one after another, and people looked in horror at everything around them.
Why the hell was everything growing so large? Jiang Shaoliu felt his mind slipping as he looked up to the golden lights in the sky.
"Meow." A yellow cat slowly walked out of a nearby building with glittering green light in its eyes and looked around.
A beam of golden light fell from the sky and struck the cat.
This yellow cat immediately started growing bigger and bigger right before everyone's eyes, glowing with golden light until it was as big as a leopard.
Jiang Shaoliu's jaw dropped.
The big cat squinted its bloodthirsty eyes and looked around until its gaze met Jiang Shaoliu's. Then it slowly walked towards him.