"Xia Qianyu?" Chu Feng looked surprised. Rarely had this girl ever taken the initiative to look for him before.
Was she interested in continuing the relationship? Chu Feng wasn't that narcissistic. He still could remember how much he had nettled her last time. All that threatening gestures the girl had made was a good indication of how much she hated him.
This girl had a pair of innocent eyes and a bob cut; she was indeed a beauty of purity and virtuousness. She certainly didn't look like someone who would rack their brains to lead someone into a trap, so Chu Feng was certain that there was no way for her to have guessed his identity.
"Jiang Luoshen!" Chu Feng murmured to himself. Xia Qianyu was not the one who was looking for him; she was just a messenger sent by Jiang Luoshen. Jiang Luoshen was the daughter at Bodhi Genetics, and obviously, she was an astute and cunning woman.
The phone had been ringing for minutes. As soon as Chu Feng answered the call, the voice of Xia Qianyu came through.
"He's really pissing me off! Why doesn't this bloody lecher answer my call? I've called him four times…"
She paused for a second. She shut her mouth because she realized that this time… the call was answered!
"Huh? You're the girl who ate but didn't pay last time, right? What're you mumbling about?" Chu Feng said.
Her face turned terribly hot after she was reminded of what happened last time. For her, it was a truly an embarrassing experience.
"Chu! I warn you, don't you dare bully me!"
"How am I bullying you? Wait, wait, wait! I think we need to clear out the misunderstandings so that I don't get blamed for things that I've never done. Oh, and why don't you go check if your auntie is eavesdropping on our conversation again. I don't want her to be offended by something I inadvertently said."
"Ah, auntie! What're you doing here, hiding outside my room?!" Xia Qianyu sounded like she was taken aback by something.
"Chu Feng, do you have time today? Can we meet up somewhere?" Xia Qianyu whispered. She kept her voice at a low volume, fearing that her auntie might eavesdrop on what she was saying.
But Chu Feng didn't really want to leave the house, so he said, "Nah, probably not today. I'm feeling unwell."
"Did this lecher just turn me down?" Xia Qianyu became angry out of embarrassment. If it were not for Jiang Luoshen, Xia Qianyu would never make contact with this scoundrel of a man ever again.
She gnashed her teeth and endured the humiliation, because she needed to try her best to swindle him out of his nest.
Xia Qianyu had thought it through before she made the call. "Jiang Luoshen isn't some teenage girl in her first bloom of love, so I'm sure that she isn't trying to date Chu Feng to show her affection for him or anything. But then, why is she asking him out… Oh!" Xia Qianyu began to see the light. "She must have been trying to lead him into a trap then beat his sorry arse! Alright, I'll have to help Xia Qianyu to set him up!"
"I've got to admit, Jiang Luoshen and I were in the wrongs last time. We shouldn't have prejudiced against you…" she tried her best to keep herself under control and said things that went against her conscience. In the end, even she herself felt bashful about these blatant lies.
Chu Feng knew that what she said were not her sincere words, but secretly, he was laughing. He knew that all she wanted was to get him out of the safety of his house, so after he sat through the entire apology, he said, "I accept your apology, but how about this, because I'm feeling quite unwell right now, I might need to hang you up."
A series of busy tone… Her cheeks turned red, and she was boiling over with fury and rage.
In the end, she freaked out. She called Jiang Luoshen and shouted, "Jiang Luoshen! In order to arrange a date for you, do you know how much anger and rage I'd have to swallow? I apologized to him for no apparent reason, then after he calmly accepted my apology, he hung me up! Ah, ah, ah, ah! Do you know how ashamed I feel right now?!"
"Did he say that he was feeling unwell? Interesting! Come on! Don't give up, sister! Redouble your efforts and call him out no matter what," Jiang Luoshen's voice sounded different.
"Nope. I won't talk to that bastard ever again! You can call him if you want, be my guest! Then you will see what a no-good brazen son of a b*tch he is!" Xia Qianyu hung up the phone.
"Hey, hey, hey! Wait!" Jiang Luoshen was in a quandary. Did she really need to attend this matter personally? She didn't want to, but her curiosity was killing her.
Chu Feng's communicator rang again. It wasn't some beautiful girl calling him, but instead it was that old man from Hollow Jade Temple, Lu Tong.
"Oh, really, old man? Come on! Give me a break! I just came back from our mission yesterday, I need some rest! I thought I was working voluntarily for the army, not for some press-gang conscript sh*t, right?" Chu Feng sounded tired and unwilling.
But later that day, he still walked out of his house then headed straight for the office compound in the distance. Underneath that compound was where the headquarter of Hollow Jade Temple was.
"This cunning old man! I knew it! Wanting to know the course of the fight was just his pretext; wanting to get those buckteeth from me is his real intent," Chu Feng murmured to himself.
On the way to the meeting, he made a phone call. He asked Yellow Ox about the values of flesh, bones and buckteeth that were found on Ash Wolf. He wanted to know exactly how things stood so that later on, he would know how to deal with that old man.
Yellow Ox told him that the blood of a beast king could help one evolve, but the process of evolution came at a price. The blood was just a strange fruit in a different form. The process of evolution might be rapid and distinct, but the after-effect might be detrimental to one's health. As for bones and buckteeth, they could be counted as a rare find for humans at this stage.
He had decided to exchange all the remuneration for strange soil. Hopefully, the amount of strange soil he got would be enough to support the development of that snow-white seed. That was what he really cared about.
Chu Feng was hoping for an even bigger break-through this time.
Hollow Jade Temple.
"You've done well for our sect, son! Hollow Jade Temple won't be stingy with the remuneration. We'll give you whatever we extract from the beast blood then couple it with necessary medicine to help you evolve. Apart from that, you will also get an ancient book of your choice. Besides, people in charge of our sect have also decided to make you our training focus!"
The old man looked at Chu Feng with a bright smile. He made nice to Chu Feng as soon as he saw him.
"Bring me some real awards!" Chu Feng said.
Lu Tong glowered at him and said, "Are these rewards not real enough?"
"How long does it take you to extract the essence of beast blood?" Chu Feng casually asked. He had made up his mind that as soon as he got his hand on the blood, he would go sell them on black market for strange soil.
"A few months at least," Lu Tong replied with a frown. Although the procedure of blood refinement was well-studied, the process of refinement, decontamination and recoupling with other minerals to enhance its effect required time and effort.
"Too slow." Chu Feng shook his head.
"But let me tell you, if I were you, I would avoid taking the blood and instead, I would put my focus on something else. Pollens, for example. I would rather invest my time in gathering as much pollen as I can than waiting for the blood," Lu Tong said.
Chu Feng's heart skipped a beat when the old man said this. Did Lu Tong also know about this secret? But having someone so kind-heartedly warning him about the danger of the blood was something hard to come by these days.
"Why?" Chu Feng pretended that he knew nothing.
"The elders from Hollow Jade Temple, Eight Visions Temple and Roaming Jade Temple had mentioned before that pollens could help one evolve and its effect was the best amongst all. Everything else would leave the user some sort of after-effect. Of course, for people with finite amount of years to live, they might never experience these after-effects in their lives. Only those with power that was unfathomably profound would experience some of the negative after-effects. I told you this because I think you have extraordinary potential, so I hope that when you walk on your way to reach the acme of perfection, you can walk with steady steps on a steady path, instead of taking something that is shaky and harmful."
"Thanks!" Chu Feng solemnly expressed his gratitude.
"With that said, I think you should hand over those buckteeth to us instead of keeping them to yourself. They ain't gonna be worth a dime to you, so why don't you hand it over to our research team and let them deal with it?"
Chu Feng shot Lu Tong a disapproving look and said, "Oh, come on! Don't be so utilitarian, old man! I thanked you for being generous with all the rewards and info, so I will be very disheartened if you tell me that all that generosity was just for you to justify taking away some buckteeth from me. That's not very nice."
"Sigh… You don't know what a difficult situation we're facing right now. We're lacking in all kinds of materials." Lu Tong sighed.
"How about this: I'll give you the teeth, but for exchange, I need you to give me some strange soil," Chu Feng put forward a demand.
Lu Tong was surprised. He asked, "What do you need them soils for?"
"For my backyard horticulture."
"Don't bullsh*t me!"
Chu Feng said, "Didn't you just say that pollens are the most valuable amongst all? So, I want to cultivate some vegetation at my backyard."
"Only the ones that grow in the wild will work, and so far, no-one had ever cultivated anything by themselves," Lu Tong said in all sincerity. He frankly admitted that of all the experiments that researchers had done in their lab in attempt to cultivate the seeds, none had succeeded.
But Chu Feng insisted. He said, "I don't believe your sorrowful stories. I just want as much strange as soil as possible, then I will plant all kinds of seeds into them. Who knows, maybe one of them will eventually turn out to be something valuable."
Lu Tong seemed to have been put in a difficult situation. He said, "strange soil is very rare and expensive. Although our researchers had failed so many times with them, we keep plodding away at our research. Let me be honest with you, if you wanna sell those buckteeth on a black market, you ain't gonna get the strange soil in return. Simply because no-one sells them!"
"I know you're trying to drive down the price here, old man. If we're speaking of rarity, do you think anything would be rarer than my buckteeth?" Chu Feng said.
Clearly, the two were bargaining.
"How much do you want?" Lu Tong asked.
"A hundred kilograms!" The seeds might need a large quantity of strange soil to sustain its growth, but Chu Feng estimated that one hundred kilos should suffice its need.
Lu Tong's could barely hold onto the teacup in his hand when he heard the amount. He screamed, "Are you out of your mind, son? One chunk of strange dirt could cause one plant to mutate, and do you know how big is a 'chunk'? As big as my finger nail! That's like five grams!"
He went on to do some maths with Chu Feng. He said, "One hundred kilos of strange dirt divided by 0.005… with that amount, we can cultivate millions of plants into mutated ones. Tell me, how do you expect me to find that much strange soil, huh? At most, we can find you a hundred 'chunks'!"
"So… just a bit over one kilogram? That's too little!" Chu Feng shook his head.
"That's not too little." Lu Tong was about to go on to do some more maths with him.
Chu Feng said, "Let me do the calculations for you. Do you know how much those buckteeth weigh? Together, they weigh a hundred kilograms! So you want me to exchange one hundred kilograms of teeth for one kilogram of dirt? What are you thinking? That I'm stupid?"
"Come on, you know that's not how we should put it. You're asking for strange soil, not ordinary dirt!" Lu Tong argued.
"Alright, it's no deal then!" Chu Feng rose and was about to take his leave.
"Wait!" Lu Tong stepped in Chu Feng's way. He gritted his teeth and said, "Alright, I will ask around to see if I can find any strange soil from the other Eight Visions Temple, Roaming Jade Temple and some other research labs. I can gather you four kilos of strange dirt at most."
Chu Feng looked at him in silence. Maybe four kilos were already challenging his limits.
In the meantime, he was pondering to himself: would a four-kilo chunk be enough to suffice the need of this seed? Last time, it took a whole fist-sized chunk to kick start its development.
"Ok, deal!" For Chu Feng, the seed and the buckteeth could not be mentioned in the same breath. As long as the seed could take roots and sprout, the loss would be well justified.
Meanwhile, he added, "However, I'll need you to carve some beads and pendants out of these buckteeth for me. I've promised my parents to give them these artefacts as their presents."
"What a squander of god's gift!" Lu Tong sighed.
Lu Tong had received reports from his subordinates that the buckteeth were some truly extraordinary items. They possessed the power of regeneration which made it all the more worthy for research. He left the room then came back moments later. He told Chu Feng that he had acquired all the soil he promised.
Chu Feng weighed the soil in his hand, and it did weigh about four kilograms. At once, he knew that he had been fooled by this old man. Four kilograms were clearly not his limit; if he tried, he would be able to gather him some more.
This was perhaps only a small portion of what Hollow Jade Temple had in store!
"Get me some more, old man!"
"Nope, this is all I can do for you!" Lu Tong violently shook his head.
Chu Feng noticed that there was something special about this bag of strange soil. They were as big as half of a human fist, but they weighed just as heavy as that full fist-sized chunk he found earlier.
Chu Feng secretly marvelled at the quality of this chunk of soil. The sheer mass of this thing was a tell-tale sign of how powerful and wealthy Hollow Jade Temple was.
Lu Tong shook his head and said, "Don't overthink it, son. The fact that we've got so much strange soil with us doesn't mean that the 'opportunities' and wealth are all in our hands. Some of this were taken from the habitat of beast king. Soil was the only thing we found; as for strange fruits, we've got none."
Chu Feng was relieved.
He then asked Lu Tong about the situation at the pilgrimage grounds. He was particularly interested in that place; after all, it was where the emperors of the past had all gone to offer sacrifices to the gods. It was a place of unparalleled holiness.
Lu Tong shook his head and sighed. "The battle was too fierce, and the deaths of our warriors were too tragic. I can confidently say that amongst all the battles that had been fought around the world, the pilgrimage grounds and Kunlun Mountains were the two hardest place to contest!"
But then he smiled. "However, it's not all bad news for us. We humans are making a comeback. You, son, did a splendid job in killing that wolf, but besides that, there's something else that would help boost our morality greatly. Do you know what it is, son?" Lu Tong asked.
Chu Feng shook his head.
"We'll soon conquer a famous mountain, and that mountain will soon be ours!"
Lu Tong then continued, "That man from Roaming Jade Temple is a true warrior. He almost beat a beast king to death. This has effectively served as a deterrent to the other mutated beasts. We're in the most advantageous position ever, son!"
Eight Visions Temple, Hollow Jade Temple and Roaming Jade Temple took their names from a mythical legend. In the legend, these names were used to call Lao Tzu, Yuanshi Tianzun , and Tongtian Jiaozhu respectively.
Chu Feng had a bizarre expression. It was truly unconventional for someone to name their sects like this.
In the meantime, he was also gasping with amazement. That man from Roaming Jade Temple was sure enough an undaunted fighter. The fact that he could single-handedly defeat all beasts in conquering a mountain would for sure bring back the morality of mankind. At the same time, those beasts would perhaps have to think twice before they did something aggressive.
Chu Feng brought home the strange soil. With unmatched excitement, he planted the snow-white seed into the soil along with the stone box then waited for the seed to take roots and sprout!
On the following day, there were one piece of explosive news coming after another.
Mount Hua had been conquered by a beast. The lord of that region was now a golden bird. Some people said that this golden bird was once a golden eagle, while some claimed that it was a roc before.
On that day, the golden bird spoke in human language. It called itself the Golden Roc King and claimed that it was going to be the founder of a new sect!
The news shocked the entire country. People had seen the look of its body. It was thoroughly golden in color and big in size. The bird looked just like a roc bird that lived in the legend.
It was said that Golden Roc King had an astonishing power. It seemed almost invisible. The bird perished its enemies as easily as breaking up dead wood. In the course of a few days, it had defeated every contender in the region.
The sect it established was called no other than Mount Hua!
From that day onwards, a new sect named Temple of Mount Hua was born to the world!
"I have mastered the ancient art, but we do not discriminate. As long as it follows what the fate demands, we'll welcome individuals from every species to join us to learn the essence of Taoism and the way of virtue and justice," Golden Roc King's words shocked the world again.
People had realized that "free of discrimination" had been a characteristic of every sect that had been established recently, let it be the one that was founded by the elder ape, the crane or the turtle.
Soon, the explosiveness of another news overcame the shockingness of this one. In Mount Cang, people had witnessed the rise of another mysterious beast. The beast had defeated many beast kings to become the lord of Mount Cang.
On that day, the beast had, too, spoken a human language to claim that it had since become the founder of a new sect, Temple of Dian Cang.
This was an explosive piece of news. Successively, five sects had been established by non-human species: Sword Temple of Mount Shu, Temple of Kongtong, Temple of Dian Cang and last but not least, Temple of Great Woods!
Lu Tong was left speechless. He just told Chu Feng that things would happen to boost the morality of mankind, but who would have thought that things like this would happen first?
On that same day, there was an update on the battle of Kunlun Mountains. After days of fierce battle, the kings had reached a compromised. The beasts agreed that they would work together in governing the mountains. The mountains were divided then allocated to every beast.
At this point, the conflict at Kunlun Mountains could finally settle, but the situation was still rather complex.
People were dumbfounded. Was this going to be the new structure of the world after the upheavals? Would it stay this way forever?
However, people could vent out a sigh of relief at dusk. There was finally a good news that could relieve the dreary depression that people were facing.
"Big news! Mount Wudang has been conquered by a human fighter!"
"The fighter is a master of Taijiquan . It is said that he single-handedly defeated all beasts and conquered the mountain for us human!"
When the news came, the country boiled over with excitement.
It was said that this fighter was a grandmaster of Taijiquan. He was over a hundred years old, and his attainments in martial arts had reached the acme of perfection.
When this grandmaster went to the mountains to recuperate, he was fortunate enough to have eaten a strange fruit. It increased his longevity and made him live until this age. In the meantime, the constitution of his body rapidly improved, making him look like a man in his forties. He became not only powerful, but also young and healthy.
A taiji grandmaster conquered the Mountain of Wudang. It boosted the morality of mankind greatly!
Obviously, he was not the man from Roaming Jade Temple. The conqueror of Wudang was just an unexpected accident and a pleasant surprise.
Before the evolution, he was already a grandmaster in ancient martial arts; after the evolution, his power and strength became terrifying and inconceivable!
People realized that up to now, there were seven conquered mountains in total, which meant that were seven sects.
"Temple of Great Woods, Sword Temple of Mount Shu, Temple of Mount Hua, Temple of Kongtong, Temple of Dian Cang, Kunlun and Mount Wudang. Amongst them, there is only one whose founder is a human." Some people sighed.
 (the Celestial Venerable of the Primordial Beginning or the Primeval Lord of Heaven, is one of the highest deities of religious Taoism. He is one of the Three Pure Ones and is also known as the Jade Pure One. He resides in the Heaven of Jade Purity. It is believed that he came into being at the beginning of the universe as a result of the merging of pure breaths. He then created Heaven and Earth.)
 (A martial arts master in the Qing Dynasty adopted the concepts of yin and yang to introduce a style of martial arts known as taijiquan)