It had been 3 days since the world changed.
In these three days, the state played its great role. Each country had launched troops and various advanced weapons to clean up the beasts and insects in the cities and quickly made defense plans for the new situation. Most of the cities were restored to normal, except the remote and sparsely populated mountain villages that were still in danger.
On the fourth day, telecommunications were restored and people began to look for explanations for this mutation on TV and on the net.
There was no official explanation. The state only said everything was under control and told the public to be careful and obey the laws. The army and the police would protect them, but it never mentioned why all this happened.
As a matter of fact, this phenomenon was entirely beyond the scope of scientific explanation. The many scientists who studied the mutated beasts, insects and plants could find no reason for the sudden genetic mass-mutation.
It was judged that it all had something to do with the mysterious beams of golden light, but no one could tell what the golden rain contained since they had no way to study it, as it had already stopped.
Compared to what happened on the ground, the state was more worried about the anomalies in the sky.
People used equipment such as drones, satellites and radar to observe the mountains in the sky, but all the machines could register was white light and white noise.
The army sent out fighters to get closer, but they were all destroyed by lightning before they could get anywhere near.
The whole world was gripped in fear.
The mountains were just floating there in the sky and no one believed this was only a bizarre hoax. Rumors began to spread quickly.
Some religious leaders claimed that the thing in the sky was a punishment from the gods. They wanted to destroy the world because of the depravity of humanity, and only those who believed in their supreme masters could be saved.
For a time, people with their own hidden agendas appeared and preached about all kinds of religious end-of-the-world myths, causing mass panic until the situation could be stabilized. Some people became hysterical to the point of suffering from a nervous breakdown, while the crime rate increased sharply. The military had to allocate a considerable amount of resources to maintain public order.
The UN quickly convened an emergency meeting and all the countries eventually reached an agreement to use the most powerful weapon available to humanity - the nuclear option - to attack the floating mountains.
The world mobilized quickly and evacuated the people who were nearest to the floating mountains and establishing nuclear fallout shelters, while the military rehearsed in preparation.
When the time came to launch the attack, the whole world was watching on their TVs, mobile phones and computers.
"Will those nukes even do anything to that giant piece of rock?" people doubted.
Some military buffs said: "It'll be fine. Nuclear bombs aren't what they used to be. I bet the stuff they're using can blast through the entire planet, not to mention that floating rock."
Military experts also gave detailed explanations on the nuclear weapons' capabilities compared to the floating mountains' size and volume, doing their best predict the results of the attack, reaching the conclusion that the nuclear weapons would definitely destroy the anomalies. The public should have no reason to worry, and should do their best to protect themselves from the ensuing fallout.
The missiles rose from launching platforms in various countries and flew towards the behemoth in the sky.
The public watched nervously as the missiles drew closer and closer to their targets. What would happen if they were destroyed, just like the fighter jets?
"Please don't worry!" the military experts on TV maintained, "The nuclear blasts would destroy the anomaly even if they are detonated hundreds of meters from the target."
Blinding lights shone around the globe, and to everyone's surprise, the nuclear bombs were not struck down but slammed into the anomalies with cataclysmic explosions.
Mushroom clouds rose from the sky all over the world as people cheered: "We're saved!"
However, the celebration did not last long.
After the light disappeared, all the anomalies remained intact, and what's more, they all became ten times larger. Before, they only covered the sky above several cities, but now they almost reached down to the ground, covering the sky from horizon to horizon, letting no sunlight shine through. Only the mocking faint glow of the floating mountains illuminated the earth.
Mass-hysteria gripped the planet.
"What happened? Why was it ineffective? Are we going to be destroyed? Why are they becoming bigger? Are they feeding on those nuclear weapons? My god, what the hell are these things?"
Thousands without hope around the world committed suicide, while others rushed to the streets to smash and loot, shouting, "The world is ending! At least enjoy yourself before you die!"
"Look, something's happening in the sky! It's the rain of light, it's the golden rain again!"
People across the world looked up to see many spots of golden light appear in the sky, but this time they were only coming out of the anomalies and they were pouring down harder than before, as if they appeared on purpose.
"The golden rain again… Will those animals become even stronger? Is this the end?"
"Yes… it's punishment! Those anomalies are punishing us! The nuclear missiles annoyed them and that's why they are raining the golden light again!"
People screamed helplessly.
The golden rain fell relentlessly. All kinds of wild animals and insects bathed in this the golden light… and mutated again.
A silver wolf as big as a bull howled. There was a sharp horn on its head, flashing with twisting bursts of electricity.
One three-headed tiger roared and balls of compressed air blasted out of its three giant maws, turning a nearby sedan into a mangled wreck.
A huge bird stretched its fire-wreathed wings, like the great phoenix of legend.
These twice-mutated beasts could no longer be called animals. They were more like evil monsters, and they were growling, screeching and in a frenzy slaughtering anyone and anything in their way.
The military reorganized and fought back immediately, using various types of artillery and heavy weapons to hammer the amuck beasts, but those monsters were amazingly tough, even stronger than before. A few died, but most charged into the ranks of soldiers.
Onlookers screamed and ran for their lives, but nowhere was safe.
It was a miserable world.
Jiang Shaoliu stayed in the cave for ten days while the world outside changed completely.
An aura of golden light surrounded him like a burning flame. His blood was boiling and his skin had become transparent. He could even hear the wind and the thunder as he moved. He could follow the twelve sets perfectly now and the heat inside him didn't just circulate back and forth, but also spread to every part of his body, following a defined route to endlessly surge through him.
Jiang Shaoliu had never felt so comfortable in his own body before. He felt as if his body was infused with enough power to smash massive boulders as he pleased.
As the heat circulated, every inch of his muscles, bones, skin and even blood transformed and became as strong as iron.
Whenever he concentrated on the giant ape's martial art, a flash of golden light appeared on the stone murals and penetrated into his body, becoming one with the hot flow within him.
Jiang Shaoliu uttered a long and loud cry and danced like a dragon. He suddenly felt like he had broken through a certain barrier, and the heat inside him began to surge madly, gushing everywhere inside his body like lit gunpowder that was going to explode.
A thundering sound filled Jiang Shaoliu's ears, shaking him. His True Qi growled like a dragon and snaked from his back to his abdomen.
Jiang Shaoliu roared, flooded by the hot flow that even made his soul tremble.
The heat circled around his stomach, as if looking for an opportunity to enter. Suddenly, he heard a cacophony of sound. It was like a monstrous chorus chanting scriptures from the heavens.
Later, the heat inside him came together suddenly and gradually formed a vortex around his heart.
A light shadow gradually appeared inside his heart. He wasn't sure if it was real or an illusion, but it began absorbing the heat, ultimately coagulating into a sphere.
It was a completely golden circle of light. Jiang Shaoliu felt like his spirit was connected to Heaven, a spiritual sublimation he had never sensed before.
He felt so free now, like a dragon filled with endless power. He couldn't help but roar and strike at the cave wall in front of him.
The air in front of his fist became distorted and condensed before powerfully smashing against the stone.
The whole cave shook, and the monkey king howled with excitement upon seeing this.
The surface of the murals shone brilliantly, brightly illuminating the vast expanse of the cavern.
"Ooh ah ah ah ah ah!" came a hollow simian screech from the stone wall, carried on the beams of golden light shooting out of it. Jiang Shaoliu closed his eyes and spread his arms, as if bathing in the radiance of the sun.
The light was boundless, and an invisible pressure permeated through the cave before quickly spreading over thousands of miles in the outside world.
As the wave of pressure struck them, all the mutated beasts bowed in worship and howled with excitement.
The monkey king shook and knelt down on the ground, its head pressed against the hard, stony ground.
As the golden light scattered, Jiang Shaoliu opened his eyes and became stunned.
Suspended in the air in front of him were two golden objects.