The soil in the parterre was far from being rich or fertile, but it was nutritious enough to grow flowers and plants. Canna and Chinese roses both threw a lot of autumn growth, emanating a rich fragrance that were both heart-gladdening and mind-refreshing. The pomegranate tree had also borne fruits. The fruits were golden and ripe, exposing its plump and red seeds through cracks on the surface.
Chu Feng crouched by the parterre, drawing his face close to the soil. However, after meticulous scrutiny of the parterre, he still couldn't see any signs of life. There were no seedlings sprouting out of the bleak and barren soil.
He was rather disappointed. Why were they still not growing?
For the sake of a better chance, he had planted the three seeds in three separate locations, but so far, in none of which had there been any visible activities. Even weeds were nowhere to be found in the parterre.
There was only deep resignation in Chu Feng's expression. Could it be that the three seeds had already drained their vitality of life? In other words, were they already dead?
He refused to reconcile to failure. He wanted at least one of them to grow into something. He wanted to know what he would yield from it.
Days ago, he had been diligently looking up for the seeds that belonged to all kinds of plants. He compared each one of them to the seeds he had in hand, and none even remotely matched.
This further deepened his expectation, even more firmly believing that the seeds were nothing ordinary.
Yellow Ox thrusted itself onto the rich soil of the pomegranate growing soil, sticking its sizable mouth upwards to the branches as it reached for the sizable fruits. With a gulp, it swallowed a whole pomegranate. Red juice trickled down from the corners of its mouth. It squinted its eyes and enjoyed the mellow fragrance and the syrupy taste.
"Demon Ox, be careful when you stumble in there! Don't clomp on my seeds!" Chu Feng warned.
Yellow Ox showed a contemptuous expression as Chu Feng warned. It did not believe that the three shrivelled seeds could come back to life at all. It kept munching on the pomegranate regardless of Chu Feng's concern.
Chu Feng frowned. He felt ever so frustrated. He wanted them to spear out of the earth, but nothing seemed to happen regardless of the methods he attempted.
In the end, he decided to dig up the soil to see the condition of the seeds for himself. Otherwise, he would feel as if a hundred claws were scratching his heart. He was eager to know the result.
"I think I will first choose the seed with a relatively fuller shape."
Chu Feng crouched by the parterre, carefully dusting away the thin covering of soil and unconsolidated rock waste above the seed. He was afraid of breaking any potential stems of a seedling, so he kept his actions to a minimal level.
Plucking away the dirt revealed a slightly shrivelled seed. While half of it buried underground, another half re-exposed to the air. Although it was yet to shoot a seedling, the seed's color and luster seemed to have been added with a richer hint of green.
"Things seemed a bit hopeful!" Chu Feng was delighted.
He carefully observed the seed and discovered that its skin was a bit smoother than before. It also looked greener, with a complicated system of grains engraved on its surface. It looked complex, but also mysterious.
The seed had undergone evident changes.
The seed used to wore a dry yellow skin, but months later, it turned into something plentifully bestrewn with few green stripes and scalings. It somehow had a lingering charm associated with it.
Chu Feng was astonished. The more he looked at the seed, the more extraordinary it seemed to be.
He sighed with relief. He set his mind at rest, resting assured that sooner or later, it would spear out of the earth.
He grew hesitant. He was unsure whether or not to nourish the soil with some fertilizers in order to boost up its growth.
Chu Feng turned to Yellow Ox with a mendacious smile. "Oh my darling little ox. I know you may not be eager, but you need to help me. Otherwise, I'm totally out of options."
A shudder ran down Yellow Ox's back. It retreated a few steps back, warily glaring at Chu Feng with its eyes wide opened, as if it was asking Chu Feng to get straight to the point. Don't beat around the bush!
"I will only say this once. Cow dung!"
Yellow Ox hurled its hooves at Chu Feng, forcing him to shun aside from the fearsome attack.
It rushed back into the room, and with a bang, it slammed the door of the room shut behind it. Not only had it usurped an entire room, but it had also seized a king-sized bed in that room ever since it got here.
Every night, it would lay prostrate when it slept. Its arms outstretched, and its eyes closed.
Chu Feng had a hidden bitterness, but he was helpless too.
Having covered the seeds with the rich soil again, he started to practice boxing once again. He had a sense of urgency. As the number of the mutated grew day-by-day and with each possessing a set of unique skills and powers of their own, he felt he needed to acquire some sort of measures for self-protection.
At the same time, he also wanted to explore Taihang Mountains to try out his luck. Maybe by chance, he could run into something unusual.
But all the risky explorations were premised on the basis that he was powerful enough to battle against the feral beasts and birds residing in the mountains.
It was still the first position of Yellow Ox's boxing style, but Chu Feng was determined to practice it again and again. His fist carried an imposing power, whipping the withered leaves drooping on the branches of the trees in the yard into churning masses.
Suddenly, a blaring bellow of a wild yap sounded as he jabbed away with his fist. It was an ear-splitting sound that echoed and rumbled within the enclosure of this small yard.
Yellow Ox had been taken aback. It rushed out of the door of the room, dreamily staring at the yard with its eyes wide opened.
There was a silhouette of a jet-black yap behind Chu Feng's back. It was lofty tall, and strapping too. Its glare gazed into the eyes of Yellow Ox, with a body shining with black luster. It looked exactly like a real yap, only with a look more formidable, and a temperament more imposing and fear-inspiring in its beholders.
A fist that Chu Feng had jabbed away was all that preceded to the emergence of this black demon yap. It poised beside the equally formidable torso of Chu Feng, ready for a fight.
Chu Feng knew that this was the ultimate form of Yellow Ox's boxing type. He was now in full mastery of this first position!
The first position was the fundamental of Demon Ox Boxing Style. All the nine positions were established on this foundation; as such, it made the first position all the more difficult to master than the rest of the boxing style.
The positions that followed would not take long to master.
Sure enough, Chu Feng managed to complete all of the first five boxing positions in the following two days without a break. The rate of his progress had drastically increased.
Yellow Ox was astounded by Chu Feng's progression. In response, it wrote another few shapeless and twisted words on the ground, referring Chu Feng as to the descendent of Tauren.
Chu Feng was wild with rage.
On that day, amongst the plate of pork chops he prepared for the calf, he chucked in a few pieces of beefsteaks with a quite decisive determination.
"Hey man, I really miss you after days of us parting company. How do you do recently?" Zhou Quan rang up Chu Feng.
"Not bad. How are you doing? I've heard plenty of news about mutations and metamorphosis. Are you doing alright?" Chu Feng showed his concern over Zhou Quan's wellbeing.
"I can burn gold and melt stones these days. Even I was taken aback by myself, but I think I'm getting used to it. But that horn, that goddamn horn that had grown on my head is disgustingly ugly." Zhou Quan was fraught with emotion.
To cover up the pointing horn, he had been wearing his hair slicked back lately, but his outlandish hairstyle had proven to be an eye-souring sight to his family who contended that the hair made him look like a local ruffian. As expected, it was really depressing for him to listen to everybody's whinges.
Chu Feng had a good gloat over this.
"Oh, right! Isn't it strange that Demon Ox hasn't harassed me for the past two days? It's been quiet all day, and I don't think myself is used to this," Zhou Quan complained.
Chu Feng was speechless. Days ago, Yellow Ox had been harassing Zhou Quan with endless string of calls regardless of the time of a day, almost driving Zhou Quan into madness.
Suddenly, Chu Feng recalled something. His expression turned astonished. "That's not right! I have seen the calf hugging and cuddling the communicator the whole time for the past few days. It bellowed into the communicator, so clearly, it has been talking to someone on the other side."
"Impossible! It's been really quiet for me for the past two days. No one harassed me during the night, and that actually made me sleepless." Zhou Quan emphatically asserted that Yellow Ox had not called him.
Chu Feng's expression turned at once, hanging up the call almost in an instant.
If the calf had not been harassing Zhou Quan, then who had it been calling? Was it trying to get a rise out of some of his classmates? Chu Feng felt a dizziness overcoming him and blurring his vision.
Was the calf getting more and more intelligent? Did it secretly manage to take note of all the numbers from his contact list?
White smoke rose from his scalp, indicating profound anger burning within him. At the same time, he also felt quite uneasy. He blasted into Yellow Ox's room, roaring, "Demon Ox! I'm gonna whoop your sorry ass!"
Chu Feng hurled himself onto the lying calf.
Yellow Ox was rather baffled as it heatedly glared at Chu Feng.
"Did you go harassing all those people from my contact list again?" Chu Feng accused.
Yellow Ox fiercely shook its head. It stuck out its front hooves, jabbing at the screen of the communicator.
Chu Feng looked doubtful. He took over the communicator and rapidly glanced through the call history. To his relief, what he was worried about did not happen.
But he questioned to whom these unfamiliar numbers belonged to. At the same time, he felt sorry for the poor soul who had to endure the constant harassment from a calf.
In a residence at a nearby town.
Zuo Jun almost had a mental breakdown. He had been badgered by calls from the same number over and over. The calls were made regardless of the time of the day ever since he woke up from the coma. It was an endless sequence, irritating to the say the least.
Sometimes, the phone rang in the evening; at times, the call came at dawn. To him, the caller was a sheer abomination.
His head was yet to recover from his head trauma. Him losing memory coupled with the penetrating pain made him all the more lethargic and drowsier.
He would kill to have a sound slumber, but for every time he fell asleep, the nightmarish ringtone would sound and wake him with a shudder.
He dared not to turn it off either. As one of the mutated, the communicator was the only means of communication with the commanders-in-chief of the team.
What made it all the more abominable was that the person who called him emulated the sound of a cow's bellow every time he called. It was a long and irritating succession of noise that made him clench his teeth in bitter hatred. How he wished he could wring the neck of the person on the other side.
His head had a sharp pain. It was a particular type of pain that resembled to a trauma inflicted by the stomp of an animal.
And now, the sound of cow's bellow felt not only irritating, but also suggestive of the pain. Every bellow felt like another stomp on his head.
Sometimes, the irritation sent him into a fury, prompting him to smash the communicator into a million pieces to end all the pain and sufferings.
But he couldn't. This was a special kind of communicator. Although its functions were simple, they were also powerful. Signals to this communicator could be ensured wherever he travelled to. It was also tied to his identity, so by no means could he dare to lose it.
Qingyang Village. Chu Feng's house.
Yellow Ox signalled for him to put the communicator on the bed, then with a few poking and jabbing that seemingly reflected its profound experience with the device, it made another call to the number. Yellow Ox shunned away as soon as the call was put through.
As expected, an ear-splitting roar soon sounded from the other side of the call. "You bastard! Don't make me track you down, or you will…"
The answerer gave vent to a torrent of abuse and curses. Clearly, he had gotten very exasperated.
Chu Feng seemed dumbstruck. He could well recognize the voice. This was the voice of Zuo Jun! "What a poor bastard!" Chu Feng thought. "How did Yellow Ox manage to make him fall victim to its tasteless practical jokes."
Chu Feng was at a loss on whether to cry or to laugh. On that day when Chu Feng made a body search of the unconscious Zuo Jun, Yellow Ox was also standing beside and tinkering with Zuo Jun's communicator. So all that fiddling around with the man's communicator was to take note of his contact number.
Chu Feng left the room and bit his lips to keep from laughter.
Yellow Ox was at last left alone in the room. It turned to its trusty communicator and fondled with it with profound interest. Occasionally, it mooed at it, as if it was flippantly replying to Zuo Jun's raging words.
At that night, Chu Feng was vigorously practicing boxing. To his surprise, he managed to master the sixth and the seventh position almost in an instant.
He lifted up a palm-sized boulder and caressed it gently in his hand, but the solid stone turned to powder in his fingers at once.
Chu Feng was astounded. He raised his palms and stared at them. What a horrifying strength they carried!
Chu Feng had once been doubtful about the expeditious rate at which his practice progressed. He consulted with Yellow Ox, and it informed him with words writing on the ground.
Some people might not be able to master this boxing style after a lifetime of intense training and practice. They might not even be able to pass the first position in their life.
While at the same time, there were also people who could come in mastery of the boxing style in months or even weeks. Of course, "mastery" was only used to refer to the completion of the moves that the style involved. It was only the first step that preceded many more procedures that followed
"This means I will soon become the master of the style," Chu Feng murmured.
He did not continue his practice for the sake of a more rapid progression. He preferred a more natural approach.
Chu Feng took a bath before the reports published on the internet engrossed his thoughts again.
Chu Feng carefully browsed through the reports, then a breaking news drew his attention.
Someone reported that an unusual tree was discovered in the depths of Taihang Mountains. Many of the mutated had entered the mountains, poised to snatch the fruits once they were borne on the tree.
This stirred up quite a sensation in the community!
Since, according to rumors, the cause for Silver Wing, Kong Kim, Fire Spirit and White Tiger to be significantly more potent than the other mutants was that they had eaten the fruits borne on a strange tree rather than that of a grass.
Therefore, the news that a new tree had been found to have the potential to bear such fruits prompted many to gird up their loins and be eager for action. They wanted to be the strongest of the pack. They wanted power to oppress the other mutants!
All of a sudden, Taihang Mountains became the focus of the world.
"The storm's coming."