Drizzly moonlight coupled with a stream of stars trickled sluggishly in the proximity of Chu Feng. From a distance, it seemed like a dense layer of misty fog enshrouded Chu Feng in a sea of puffing steam.
This gave Chu Feng a rather cozy feeling. As he carried out the special breathing pattern, a smell of delightful fragrance wheezed out of his mouth and lingered about his nostrils.
There had been many historical records depicting the strange phenomenon of immortality that belonged to some old Taoist Priests or Eminent Monks. Their body and their flesh could endure the decomposing air as years went by. They were seemingly dead, but their body could remain intact for thousands of years while giving off a delicate smell of fragrance.
Some said this was due to years of immersion in the process of cinnabar making that made their body immune to the decomposing bacteria in the air. This could also explain the delightful smells of musk emanating from their bodies.
Some scholars believed that everyone should have been born with musk-like smell, but the world was a foul and filthy place, and as such, only a minority of people could exude this true smell of human origin.
Right now, a thin layer of misty smoke was whizzing about his mouth and nose. The air was suffused with a light smell of incense. He could even taste a luscious sweetness in his saliva.
This was a strange way of breathing that followed some specially designated rhythms. Chu Feng could feel the lightness in his body. He felt weightless, as if he was about to depart from earth into the vault of sky above.
This breathing rhythm seemed to have improved his physical sensations. He felt his body full of joy and vitality.
It was not long before Yellow Ox opened its eyes. It pointed one of its fore hooves to the sky and the other to the ground. It made a few bellow then ended the breathing exercise.
Chu Feng also halted the exercise. Although the process had not lasted long, Chu Feng felt that his body was saturated with vigor and vitality. This saturated state meant that any further endeavour in trying to continue the exercise would be fruitless anyway.
Suddenly, Chu Feng heard a wave of cracking noise rippling around him. It was the cracking of the yard walls. The ground gently quaked. Although the tremor was not of an enormous magnitude, one could easily sense this temblor of the earth.
Then, he heard cries and wails of shock and terror throughout the village.
All of a sudden, all the streetlights went out in perfect unison as the lights from each household also flickered then extinguished in concordance. The power supply had been cut off.
At the same time, Chu Feng discovered that the signal on his communicator had also drastically weakened before it became disconnected.
Yellow Ox growled as its pupils shone in the darkness. It raised its head and looked up in the direction of the Taihang Mountains. There were blossoms of purple lights as well as some trickling silver luminescence on the mountain.
Vaguely, a rumble rose from the distance.
This marked the beginning of another episode of drastic changes. Although the location seemed distant, he could feel an air of immense pressure clasping around his body.
"Look! More mountains are emerging!"
Chu Feng was shocked. He saw more mountains and hills cropping up out of the void in the distant Taihang Mountains. Some even measured hundreds of thousands of zhang in height, striking an even more imposing pose than the mountains that appeared earlier.
Was this the true colors of Taihang Mountains?
Turmoil rippled across the town. People's outcry of terror could be heard throughout the village.
The ground was also stretching itself in all directions. Some of the streets had become broken and disconnected. Some houses started cracking as fissures of horrific width started crawling up the houses' wall.
Fortunately, these changes did not happen at a lightning speed.
This was doomed to be another restless night.
There were all sorts of screams and exclamations, but all carried an undertone that suggested fear and terror.
A building collapsed.
"Mom, I'm scared!"
"Purr! Grandma, what is happening. I'm so scared."
Children were crying in fear.
Qingyang Town had fallen into chaos in only one evening. This seemed to foreshadow something even meaner, something even more chaotic. It preluded a series of more tumultuous events that no-one could prevent.
Chu Feng ran out into the village. He wanted to save those who had been buried under the debris of collapsed houses. To his relief, there were not many casualties involved. Many had already managed to abandon the houses before they became ruins.
A quarter of the houses from the town had crumpled. Most happened in the northern part of the village. The dilapidated buildings looked as if they had been pulled apart by some mysterious force as there were generally a considerable gap between each crumbled houses.
Most buildings from the east, the south and the west seemed still intact. Some houses were only partly damaged where minor fissures appeared on the wall, but they were far from the state of becoming a dilapidated building.
Water and electricity had all been cut off due to the impact brought by the earthquake and ground fissures.
There were three unlucky souls who could not make it out alive. Ten others were injured. Thankfully, everything happened relatively slowly which allowed plenty of time for people to escape from harm.
Only those who were too deep in their slumber could not leave their house in time, so tragedy ensued.
But this was enough to cause panic among the population in the village. No such things had ever happened before. Especially as people grew more and more uncertain about the future and as more and more people started feeling that their lives could no longer be grasped in the hands of their own, terror and fear rose as a result.
Who knew what the world in the next era would look like. Whether it be a continual tumult or an ordered society that had evolved to possess an even more advanced civilization, no one would ever see the world in the same way they had today. Nothing was certain, so everything became ever so uncanny and fearful.
Tears and outcries were no longer the only vehicle to exemplify the fears and terrors of the people. It was their sagging spirits and their atrophied hope for the future that slowly drove them out of sanity and into madness.
Water, electricity and communication had all become disconnected. They were isolated from the outside world, so it seemed almost impossible for any rescue teams to instantly come over to help.
No-one knew the situation in the outside world. Was it in a similar state or one that was even severer?
"Don't be afraid and don't panic. Only a minority of the houses has collapsed. Those that haven't will sustain our needs for accommodation. Power shortage isn't a concern either. Our town owns an electric generator that will come in use very soon. As to water shortage, we can deal with it with our ancient wells. They will supply us enough water for months on end."
Chu Feng summoned Grandpa Zhao to make an announcement to pacify the unsettling atmosphere in the village.
Grandpa Zhao enjoyed high prestige and commanded universal respect in the village. His exceptional craftsmanship, his ownership of a cold weapon workshop, and his magnanimous yet determined personality all earned him the respect he deserved.
Chu Feng returned to his house. It was situated on the east side of Qingyang Town; therefore, the earthquake did not influence its structural stability that much. Only a few fissures along the walls could be seen, and none of them seemed to have much effect on the house itself.
Yellow Ox was gazing into the vast emptiness of the sky east to its position. There was a faint golden beam of light blossoming in its eyes. It looked excited, as if it had been expecting something.
"What are you expecting?" Chu Feng asked.
Yellow Ox did not reply. It was mute and quiet.
In the following few days, the town had been completely isolated from the outside world.
It was so far to be considered the safest place. All kinds of safety measures had been taken to ensure complete security in the city. There were also all sorts of strain schemes set in place to allow for the best possible and most immediate response in case of emergency.
It had been the capital city of all the past six dynasties, and maybe there was a reason for this. While the whole world had been turned upside down thanks to this continual string of calamities, Shun Feng remained intact and unscathed. The city was perched on the edge of the "stretching zone", which meant none of its infrastructure had been even mildly affected.
Knowing these set Chu Feng's mind at ease. He gave them consolation by asserting that he would soon come over to them.
"Are you still alright, Chu Feng? OH MY GOD! Our village has been divided in two, and there are two primitive and chaotic-looking mountains right beside our place. They are piercing right into the clouds with a size that I can't even see the boundaries." Zhou Quan called Chu Feng later that day. He cried in distress and his voiced trembled with emotion. "Guess what I saw? A Goddamn toad! Oh my lord! That thing was almost as big as a stone roller on a stone mill. And... and it is swallowing an elephant!"
Zhou Quan rambled in his statement. He shouted out incoherent speech while crying and yelling in anxiety.
In the end, Chu Feng finally understood Zhou Quan's rambling words. There had been all sorts of ineffable creatures appearing in the mountain range that emerged at that night when they disembarked the coach. Chu Feng had been capturing the sight of all sorts of creatures with his telescopes.
Zhou Quan once saw a toad with the size of a stone roller. It was hunting down all sorts of other bestial animals. Once it even captured an elephant before it gnawed away the bones and flesh of the elephant.
After their call, Chu Feng went for a long, contemplative walk across the village. "The world will just go haywire if all of those fierce beasts were let out. Hopefully, they will forever remain at the place of their origin," Chu Feng thought.
Then, he hastily went to surf the internet before he would lose access to it again.
Everywhere around the world had undergone and completed a radical shake-up.
Many people were afraid. Quite a few broke out in tears. This was no longer a world they knew. Peace and serenity were no more. People could smell the beginning of a storm, and an era of reign of terror.
Houses and buildings collapsed on a major scale. Some people lost their lives in the process.
Everyone now had started to realize that the distance between every city and town had grown in a quite dramatic fashion. It was a tenfold increase on average across the globe, and this meant that the area of the whole world had increased by at least a hundred times!
Some people cried and shouted. They believed that Earth had been connected to some other horrific worlds.
Some also suggested that this was actually the true face of the earth. A vast area of primitive land that had been buried deeply underground in the past, and they were not unveiled until today.
For a moment, the theory of parallel universe had been continuously explored and discussed amongst scholars alike.
Unrest rippled across the nation. Photos of many strange occurrences were repeatedly reported on the web.
Auspicious scenes and sights were allegedly spotted on various well-known mountains and lakes. Divine trees were seen blooming with flowers, sacred spring water trickled down the once-dried riverbed. Some people even went to scramble for the flowers and the water, arriving all at once as if it had been premeditated. This prompted many to express their shock and suspicions.
For the past few days, Yellow Ox stayed relatively quiet. It often stood in the middle of the yard, gazing into the empty void above it, as if it was showing solicitude for something invisible yet important to it.
However, in the depth of its eyes, there was an evident mixture of excitement and enthusiasm. For the calf, it was staying in a state of dormancy at present. It was waiting, waiting for the moment when its essential spirit could be aroused to bring out the divinity from within its body.