Thunder and lightning struck the main mountain. A coal-colored vine swung overhead. It was at least one and a half thousand meters in length. It shone brightly like a lightning bolt, then hastily descended to the earth, drawing a splendid electric arc in the air as it struck at its enemy.
The Manchurian Tiger was fighting with the vine on the hillside. He leapt aside just in time to dodge the bolt of lightning. The lightning bolt struck the earth, and the earth shattered. It looked almost as if the vine were a whip used by Zeus, the god of thunder, so there was nothing that could stand in its way. 1
Of course, the clap of thunder that came soon after the lightning was threatening too. Even the Manchurian Tiger had scruples about the thunder, daring not to come close to it.
The air vibrated. There were three other vines that suddenly pierced through the dirt and started swinging. They were coal-colored as well. As they swung left and right, they were coated in eye-piercing electric light. The light dissipated the clouds and mists that were hovering over the hillside, then it began striking at the Manchurian Tiger.
"Son of a b*tch! Let me teach you a lesson!" The Manchurian Tiger was infuriated. His striped body began glowing as his roar trembled the earth of Mount Olympia. His bloody mouth was wide open, and from within that bloody mouth, a radiant ray dashed out. The ray then became a giant lustrous sword. The sword raced forward, striking towards the coal-colored vine.
Electric light fried the air, and sparkles splattered. Both the tiger and the vine had six severed shackles, so the fight between them was beyond epic.
The Manchurian Tiger leapt into the air then landed a few hundred meters away. He then started charging at the main mountain again.
In the meantime, Chu Feng, Yellow Ox and the others were clambering up the mountain from the other side. They had withstood the attack by Apollo and were about to step foot on the sacred soil.
Suddenly, torrents of flames came rushing down the mountain like a tempestuous tide. The flames shone with great brilliancy. Rocks were molten to lava then came seething down the slope. It looked as if a volcano had just erupted.
Everyone was taken aback. The flames looked extraordinary. They were not blazing red, but rather they were as black as coals. The beasts felt scorched by this black flame.
"Don’t tell me this is doing of Hephaestus, the god of fire!" the black yak shouted.
There was a plant at the peak of the mountain. The plant was covered in flames, looking a tree scorched in flames. Its leaves and branches were dripping with black balls of fire. The temperature was unbearably high.
"Apollo the god of Sun was the sunflower; the god of fire is a bloody tree! Goddamn!" the kings cursed. Were all the gods on Mount Olympia plants?
"The plant had only severed five shackles. It’s not a big deal!"
Chu Feng was standing at the very front, being the vanguard of this team of beast kings. His blood and flesh became sparkling and crystal-clear after using the special breathing technique. He was charging ahead, and Yellow Ox was right behind him.
"Brothers! Charge!" the black yak shouted.
Those who had severed at least four or five shackles were also charging. Mysterious energy flowed out of the pores of their skin, protecting them against the scorching flames. They were now once again en route to the mountain’s peak.
"Quickly, brother tiger!" the black yak shouted.
"Zeus" was on the main mountain. Those coal-colored vines were too horrifying. Without the tiger, they were no match against the vines.
anchurian tiger was furious. The stripes on his body were glowing. The glowing stripes became chains made of light before detaching from the fur. The tiger violently shook his body, and those chains were hurled towards the vines.
Wind whistled as the chains traversed the air. They struck down four of the six black vines. Then, the tiger leapt into the air and landed at the peak of the mountain.
Chu Feng, Yellow Ox and the Snow Leopard King quickly climbed up the mountain. They had successfully broken through the first line of defense.
At this moment, the coal-colored vines and the golden sunflower both retreated, then the blazing tree followed. None of them launched another attack on the invaders.
The main mountain of Mount Olympia was surrounded by mists and clouds. The mists spread to other areas, making the entire mountain range look dusky and overcast. But beast kings had sharp eyes. They could still see through the mists.
The region around them was full of life and vigor.
There was a lawn of sacred plants ahead of them. If any of those sacred plants were to be taken to the outside world, it would be sensational. Every single plant had the pulse of a king or an expert.
"There are twelve plants here. No more and no less. Does each of them represent a god?"
The plant in the middle was a black vine. The vine was only as thick as a pail and was as long as ten meters, but when it started swinging, the vine grew as long as one and a half thousand meters in length.
This coal-colored vine was a sacred plant alright. It could grow big or small; it could master the power of lightning and thunder. It could call on the power of nature to strike at its enemy, and this ability alone made it an astonishing plant.
The vine was surrounded by many other sacred plants. There was a golden sunflower, a flaming tree, a coral tree whose roots and branches both had a deep blue color…
People were flabbergasted. Some voiced their own guesses.
"The sunflower is Apollo the god of sun!"
"The flaming tree is Hephaestus the god of fire!"
"The coral tree is Poseidon the god of sea!"
People began to see the light. These twelve plants each corresponds to one of the twelve Lord Gods from Greek Mythology.
"People, we have always been busy minding our own business, walking on our separate paths. Never has there been any bad feelings or bad blood between us, so why would you invade Mount Olympia today?" The black vine was communicating with them via brain wave.
"We’re looking for opportunities to evolve," the black yak said. He was rather frank about it.
"Are you the owners of this mountain?" Chu Feng asked. He still couldn’t believe that these plants were originally born here.
Other people also had the same doubt. These plants didn’t seem like the original residents on Mount Olympia. They must have come from other places and seized the mountain for themselves.
"I’m sorry to disappoint you, but there are no strange fruits or sacred flowers here. If you’re looking for opportunities to evolve, then I’ll have to tell you that there is none. We were born at this place," Zeus said.
People were disappointed.
Yellow Ox was sharp-eyed. He saw through the dense fog and perceived the presence of something hidden deep behind the veil of the fog. The look on his face immediately became solemn.
"What is that?" Chu Feng saw that thing too.
It looked like a door there was a door behind the twelve plants, but it was covered by the plants.
After a moment of silence, Apollo the god of sun said, "This is a door, but nonetheless, you have to go. Please do not disturb the peace of this mountain."
"Let me have a look!" the Manchurian Tiger was quite interested.
He dashed towards the door without any scruples.
The plants suddenly began to glow. Zeus was especially luminous. The vines became tangled with lightning bolts as the deafening sound of thunder exploded.
The war was suddenly re-ignited. No-one in the Western Punitive Expedition was a weakling. They were all kings, and they were all fearless. Seeing the plants suddenly burst into violence, the kings all went charging at the door. They then surrounded the door to have a better look at that peculiar door.
It was a stone door, standing in the middle of nowhere. It hovered above the ground, three inches from the earth. The pupils of the kings constricted; they were very astounded by this.
"What’s happening?!" the Manchurian Tiger shouted.
Chu Feng was having a guilty conscience just then. Through the conversation, he learnt that Mount Olympia was the home of those plants. It certainly wasn’t nice to invade someone’s home without the host’s permission. But now, after discovering this peculiar stone door, he realized that there must have been something more to it.
"It’s not really a big deal to tell you guys what this is. It’s a door that opens to heaven. None of you will be able to open it," Zeus said.
Yellow Ox looked solemn. He was carefully observing the door, then he said, "We don’t have to try to open it. This door is a rare treasure. It opens to a road, a road that will lead to a vast world!"
People were taken aback by the calf’s words. They turned their gazes at Yellow Ox all at the same time.
"This door is for those who are lacking self-confidence. These people usually can’t make their way to our world through the usual path, therefore they will choose the easy way for the sake of convenience and their safety. This door was built in pre-historic times. This is a backdoor connecting our world to the other one, but in my opinion, I think it is actually harder to succeed on this path," Yellow Ox said.
Yellow Ox guessed that this backdoor was not the work of a single person. Behind this door, there might even be a very big pilgrimage ground that had been abandoned since ancient times. The pilgrimage ground was shut down as the door was closed, and now someone was trying to reopen it.
"Are you the seeds left by people from the Holy Sect of Heavens?" Yellow Ox was very suspicious.
After a moment of silence, Zeus said, "The stone door broke through the soil like a bamboo shoot, and since then, it has always been hovering in the air. The stone door brought us from underground as well, and since then, we’ve been gaining consciousness and developing intelligence."
Everyone looked astounded by the vine’s words.
"Be careful, you guys. There are a lot of people wanting to come over from the other side of the door. Be careful or one day, you guys might become the sacrificial offering for them before you even know it," Yellow Ox said.
Chu Feng sighed. He remembered that a long time ago, Yellow Ox had warned him that for every famous mountain, there must be a path leading to the other side of the world. Now it seemed that these words had started to become a reality!
Yellow Ox said, "Let’s go. It’s a waste of time to be here. These plants have extracted all the sacred essence of the mountain, and I don’t see how those holy tree roots buried underneath the ground will regenerate its essence for the time being, so let’s get going!"
In the end, everyone left.
Yellow Ox was laden with anxiety. He wouldn’t mind if everyone from "the other world" came to this world through the same way as he did. There would have been equal opportunities for everyone if that were the case. But the competition wasn’t always fair for everyone, and today’s encounter proved the point. Not everyone was competing fair and square; some other Holy Sects have a trick or two up their sleeves or a short-cut to allow them an easier route. For Yellow Ox, this was not good news.
If one day, an entire ancient Holy Sect befell through a backdoor, things would not look good for the calf!
On their way back, Yellow Ox was surrounded by questions from the other beast kings. They all knew that Yellow Ox was a living encyclopedia. Yellow Ox patiently answered their questions. He said, "Actually, we are not going to fear anything even when that day comes. As long as we stay ahead of other mutants and beast kings in this game of evolution, we’ll be fine. When someone from another Holy Sect comes, we’ll fight back, and hopefully, we’ll prove to competent enough."
On that same day, the old Vampire King was killed. This was another sensational news.
In fact, the white cranes from Mount Shu should have killed the vampire days ago, but the vampire was a sneaky bastard. He claimed that he could help the cranes find Schiller.
As a result, the vampire got to live. He then brought the cranes to Europe before trying to escape amidst of all the chaos of war in Europe.
Obviously, no matter how fast he ran, he could never run faster than a pair of flying swords. The swords split the vampire in half, his body plummeting from the sky and landing on a city street. This created a great stir throughout the world.
Many Westerners were clapping with joy. This vampire was a terrifying fiend. In certain aspects, he was even worse than the black dragon.
On that same day, another news spread throughout the world. Fanlin was killed at Himalayas. He was a powerful king. Having the superhuman ability to run underground, he almost managed to escape his pursuer. Although he had lost an arm, he still ran fast under the earth.
Although the Peacock King and the Golden Crow King could fly at supersonic speed, they still almost lost trace of Fan Lin. In the end, they found him at a snow-capped mountain then killed him.
The two bird kings also managed to seize the instruction for the breathing technique that Fanlin was practicing. It was called the Ancient Yoga Breathing Technique.
It was also said that the Peacock King and the Golden Crow King were injured. They found a mysterious site of sacred ruins at the snow-capped mountain, and they called upon other beast kings to join their investigation of this site.
It was said that underneath that thick layer of snow, there was an ancient temple. Although it was buried by snow and ice, one could clearly hear the sound of thunder from the outside.
Up to this point, Schiller was still on the run, while the Elder Lion King had been converted. All the other beast kings in the Eastern Punitive Expedition had been killed. The war was over.
The sect masters of Eight Vision Temple, Void Jade Temple, and Roaming Jade Temple concluded their westwards journey and were on their way home.
Later, the Elder Ape, the Golden Roc, the Mountain Tortoise, the White Cranes and the old sect master of Wudang were also heading eastwards.
This was the first war between the West and the East ever since the beginning of the post-civilization era. It shook the world, but now it was finally over.
Everyone vented out a sigh of relief. As those experts with six severed shackles left for their home in the east, the European tycoons felt as if a weight had been lifted from their shoulders. Only god knew how much pressure they were under for the past few days!
The Western Punitive Expedition had set out on the journey home. They exited Greece via that foggy passageway then entered Qaidam Basin.
Chu Feng, Yellow Ox and the black yak were staying behind. They wanted to go on a tour to Vatican City. They wanted to know if they could break up some of the forbidden places that were buried underground. They might even be able to run into something good and unexpected.
The Manchurian Tiger was still a thick-skinned bastard. He wanted to come along.
The three didn’t seem to mind this at all. The tiger might lack moral integrity, but he was a powerful fighter alright. His addition would greatly increase the overall combat effectiveness of this team.
"Is this Vatican City? Everything had fallen into ruin. We’ll never be able to find anything good here." the Manchurian Tiger sounded very disappointed.
The two cows gazed at Chu Feng with their little eyes. Chu Feng glanced back. He knew exactly what they meant with that expression in their eyes.
"If there are no ruins, there will never be anything new. Buildings may have fallen, but spirits are imperishable!" At this moment, an old man suddenly came out of nowhere. He wore a kindly expression, but he looked very old and feeble.
"Who the &*#& are you?!" The Manchurian Tiger was scared sh*tless. He shouted at the top of his lung while glowering at that old man. The tiger’s fur glowed like an overheated incandescent lamp. This eerie glow also released energy to his surroundings. This energy drew the rubbles and debris around him to the air then crushed them into a puff of fine powders.
The old man’s eyes shot a pair of golden rays. The energy of the rays neutralized the energy unleashed by the tiger. Soon, the place returned to its initial calmness.
"I harbor no malice, young men," the old man said. He was surrounded by a layer of holy light. He then continued, "The Vatican will be rebuilt on top of the ruins. Darkness can never persist, but light will linger for eternity and beyond. You lot are not allowed to step feet on this land, but today, I’ll not punish you because you and I are not enemies."
Chu Feng was astounded because he had sensed that something about this man made him seem a lot stronger than Schiller, so he asked, "Have you already severed the seventh shackle?"
"My name is Zoah!" the old man introduced himself. His body was surrounded by a divine halo, looking like a demigod. To Chu Feng’s question, he shook his head. He said, "So far, there has not been a single creature with seven severed shackles in our world, unless he's someone who doesn't belong to our world."
Yellow Ox looked astounded. He then secretly nodded in agreement.
Chu Feng was surprised by how much this old man seemed to know. His power and knowledge, together, should place him on the same level as the old llama.
"Our future will never be short of disputes and wars. The legends will return; gods will try to rule this world again. I only wish that when that day comes, we can all pull together and join hands in face of our common enemy," Zoah said. He then turned around and walked away. Soon, he disappeared behind the ruins and rubbles.
"This old man looks very bizarre to me. I can tell that he is very strong. In fact, he may be stronger than Schiller," the black yak said. He looked earnest.
Yellow Ox nodded. This old man must know a lot of truths.
Since Zoah had already issued them the warnings, it was impossible for them to stick with their plans any further. Eventually, they set out on a homeward journey. At last, they decided to take the short-cut through the passageway as well.
Finally, the four came out from the other side of the fog, but when they landed their feet on the Qaidam Basin, they saw a person watching them from inside the dense fog.
"HUH? He’s from the ‘other world’!" Yellow Ox instantly realized the danger they were in. The hair on his back stood on their ends. The calf told Chu Feng and the others to stop while he was taking every precaution as if he were anticipating a fierce enemy attack.
Yellow Ox was from the "other world", so he knew how strong and horrifying this creature must be. Yellow Ox was poised for a fight.