Obediently enduring the suffering inflicted by others was not Chu Feng's modus operandi.
For him, it was both humiliating and disgraceful to have the way of his own death designed by a third party in advance. Electrocution or to be charred into hard coke both sounded more shameful than painful.
Had he not mastered his Demon Ox Boxing Style, he would have ended up with a pathetic death.
The call was finally picked up, and a woman's voice sounded.
Under the clear sky spangled with northern stars, Chu Feng stood in the orchid garden that was both quiet and secluded. His expression suddenly shifted as he realized that on the other end, it was not the voice of Lin Naoi. As all sounds around him were still and hushed, he could vividly tell that the distinctive indifference typically embedded in Lin Naoi's luscious voice was not there.
Did he dial the wrong number? He lowered his head and meticulously read out the sequence of numbers he had input into his communicator. It was perfectly right.
"I need to speak to Lin Naoi," he calmly said.
"Chu Feng? The one who lives in Taihang Mountains?" Evidently, the woman on the other end of the line had noticed his name displayed on the communicator where he called and thus ascertained his identity.
"Yes!" Chu Feng answered.
"Do you live in Qingyang Villiage? It is quite a remote town I admit, but although it is somewhat secluded and isolated from the world outside, I still firmly believe it's a better place to be than where I am. It can easily surpass our Jiangning City with a little bit of economic boost." The woman sounded totally inattentive as she spoke.
Chu Feng frowned. What was this woman trying to imply? And who was she? Although the words she said did not sound concerning to the subject at hand at all, he was certain that there was a subtle implication behind these words.
Qingyang Village was only a small town, perching at the foot of Taihang Mountains. In contrast, Jiangning City was a booming metropolis. It was a prosperous city at the height of its power and splendors. It qualified as the center of the regions south of the Yangtze River.
Putting the two side by side could easily display an immeasurably vast difference. The two places were almost worlds apart, so if the woman was still in her perfect sanity, she must have been trying to remind or to imply him of something.
Chu Feng remained unperturbed. He calmly reminded the woman again that he wanted to speak to Lin Naoi.
"Naoi is quite busy recently. There is a lot of business within the interest of Deity Biomedical Group that needs her urgent attention. All of the people who are genuinely close to her would have known this and would try to leave her undisturbed." The woman's voice sounded temperate and mild.
Chu Feng was taken aback by the fact that, on the other side, it was a woman who sounded both sharp and intelligent. Despite her temperate tone and the casualness in the way by which she spoke, every word she chose contained an undertone of something deeper. It was then at the listener's liberty to decide how to translate these words into their true meanings.
Through those mild words, the woman highlighted the position of Lin Naoi while also pointing out the fact that Chu Feng was not within the close circle of Lin Naoi at all, humiliating him as she implied that he qualified as nothing to her. Underneath those temperate words, there was truly a sharp and deprecating meaning.
Chu Feng assumed that this woman must be someone closely affiliated with Lin Naoi, or there would be no way for her to come in possession of Naoi's communicator.
Chu Feng did not refute the woman's words, instead he calmly responded by apologizing for the late-night disturbance. Then, he hung up.
He decided to call back at another time. Maybe then, that familiar indifferent voice of his past lover would resound on the other end of the communicator once again.
However, he was also prompted to question who he just spoke to and what connection the woman had with Lin Naoi?
It was hard to pinpoint her age from her voice. It could have been a young maiden in her twenties, or it could have also been a middle-aged woman in her forties.
Chu Feng rung up Lin Naoi's number again an hour later.
This time, an indolent voice of a woman sounded. It was a delightful voice, but it sounded frivolous too. "Why are you calling again?"
It was the same woman as last time.
"You'd better not contact Lin Naoi again. Like I said, she is busy. She can't spare time to talk with you. And finally, let me give you a piece of advice, a man needs to know the boundaries. He needs to have a clear knowledge of who he is and what he is capable of. There is a boundary set for everyone in this world, so sometimes, it's better to know your limit and stay within the lines." This time, the woman became more explicit. A sense of arrogance suffused the tone of her voice.
"You're over-thinking, ma'am. It's just that I need to clarify certain things to her face to face. I have no intents to step beyond whatever the limit you think you've set me within." Chu Feng's voice was still calm.
"There are a lot of things you don't need to get entangled with. They won't end well. Do you understand me? As one of the many grassroots of the society, it's for the best that you can stay earnest and down-to-earth. Qingyang Village is a town good enough for you. It's small and poor, that I know. Isn't this an accurate description of you as well? So stay at where you belong." The woman's voice became indifferent and apathetic. Obviously, she had lost her patience. Her words were no longer along the line of euphemism.
"It seems like we have misunderstood each other…"
"No, there is nothing to be misunderstood. And I will ask you, solemnly, to stay away from Lin Naoi. She has her own lifestyle, and you have yours. Each of you belongs to a distinctive world, so know your limit and conduct yourself within that limit well. If you persist on getting entangled with her, I'm sure you will probably die of some unforeseen accidents before you know it. Maybe you don't understand what I'm saying right now, but soon you will." The woman's voice turned cold.
Chu Feng was struck by a thought upon hearing the woman's words, but he made himself sound inadvertent. "Well, in fact, I really think you are being a bit oversensitive. The reason for me to call Naoi is only that I want her to learn about a strange occurrence."
"Oh? What strange occurrence? You can choose to tell me, and I will pass on your words." The woman sounded a bit surprised.
"A giant bat dropped dead outside the yard of my house. His body was all sodden in blood." He stopped here, patiently waiting for a reaction from the other end.
As expected, the woman immediately reacted in a way that reflected her profound surprise. She jumped off her bed, then all sounds were muted at once.
Only after a while did the woman collect herself and regain her composure. "Is this all you need to talk to me about? How boring!"
"The bat seemed to be severely injured, but despite my kind offering, he still seemed rather unfriendly to me all the time. This kind of attitude seemed quite suggestive of his origin as part of the Deity Group, or at least he is somehow connected to you," Chu Feng calmly said.
Silence prevailed on the other end for a little while before that woman babbled out words in a much softer tone, "Since he is connected to Deity Biomedical Group, can I please ask you to take good care of him on our behalf? Make sure he will stay alive."
Chu Feng's eyes turned cold. This woman knew, or at least she was acquainted with the bat man!
"Why do you make it sound like that the onus is on me to help him. Even though I am absolutely clueless as to how he was injured, he's been a consistently unfriendly man to me. I even start to feel like he is going to kill me."
"You…" The woman's anger was exacerbated. She knew that in order to persuade Chu Feng to help the man, she would need to substitute her patronizing attitude to Chu Feng with a reverent and respectful manner, and this made her furious.
"I warn you. If anything happens to him, I will ensure that you will not die a happy death!" The woman adopted a crisp and menacing tone.
Judging by the woman's assertive manner, he deduced that, to some extent, the man must must have been qualified as one of the most proficient fighters in the group. He could assuredly contend that the man was not one of the disposable pawns whom the group was willing to sacrifice.
"His well-being is no concern of mine, really. By my reckoning, the injury on him will possibly claim his life in just a day or two," Chu Feng said this as he had a fleeting glimpse of the two who were still in a state of coma lying in the yard.
"I will send someone to pick him up. I only need you to treat his wounds and cuts if there are any," the woman coldly demanded before abruptly ending the call.
Chu Feng put aside his communicator as a cynical grin lit up his face. He had started to materialize an assumption of the group's actual strength based on the information he had harnessed from the call: It was nothing to be afraid of.
He fetched an iron chain, tightly tied the two together then left them exposed to the nip in the evening air outside in the yard. Having checked that there was no chance for the two to escape, he left for his room and went to bed.
The rest of the night was quiet and undisturbed.
No visitors came until noon on the following day when Chu Feng and Yellow Ox had eaten and drunk to their full content. The visitor ignored all courtesy and etiquette, barging into the yard without the host's permission.
"Are you Chu Feng? Where is he?" It was a middle-aged man in his thirties. A hint of redness mantled over the sunburnt black cheek of his. He had an average build, but his manner was vigorous and imposing. The look in his eyes were overbearing and aggressive.
"I'm Chu Feng. Look there! Is that the man you're after?" Chu Feng signalled for him to look over at a corner on the far-end of the yard walls.
The man saw the two mutants, chained together like a couple of dead pigs. Their clothes were damp in blood, and they were yet to regain their consciousness. The man's imposing manner disappeared to be replaced by a doleful frown upon sighting the state the two were in. His eyes grew cold as he turned to Chu Feng again.
"There's nothing that I'm to be blamed for. As an injured man, he still wanted to put himself in a pose of a cold-blooded murderer who wanted to claim my life at any moment. Driven by fear, I've been left with no choices but to shackle them with the sturdiest chain I could find." Chu Feng shrugged, looking innocent and innocuous.
"Alright. I will take them with me. And you? You died in a fire accident!" The middle-aged man carried a gust of trumpeting wind, charging at Chu Feng briskly before he had hardly finished speaking. He directed his fist to Chu Feng's temple, with an obvious intent to kill him with a deadly blow.
Chu Feng's face turned cold. He stood on his ground, clenched his fists and gritted his teeth. Then, in exasperation, he greeted the man's furious attack with an equally powerful defence.
The middle-aged man gave out a shrill and screeching cry as his body was flung to the air. His fists were badly mutilated; they were battered to a pulp. His arms were also severely injured, with both of them badly twisted.
"You… you're really not one of the ordinary, are you?" He grunted in anger. "Fire!"
Almost instantly, a team of gunners each equipped with a high-caliber handguns fitted with mufflers suddenly cropped up in the yard beside the two. Their guns were all aimed at Chu Feng, firing at him without any scruples.
However, Chu Feng's superhuman ability to predict and avoid dangers had lent him to shun from the scene of danger. Travelling at a speed near that of the light, with a hop and a skip, he leaped over the yard walls and fled into the orchid farms.
At first, there were only silence and looks of bewilderment on the faces of the gunners, then suddenly, Chu Feng re-emerged behind their back, and without hesitation, he landed his forceful punches on the fragile skulls and spines of these incompetent assassins. After a continual string of thumps and pounces, all of the four gunners were flung into the air before landing on the concrete ground, spewing blood as their eyes stared ahead with a vacant gaze like the eyes of a dead fish.
The middle-aged man was astounded. Suddenly, a dazzling light glittered out of his mouth. Like a spider, he launched a string of white silk towards Chu Feng.
Chu Feng easily dodged the thrusting silky string, but the man's body seemed to have bloated quite dramatically. His body quivered and pulsated, then suddenly, many pairs of spider legs grew at the side of his body. They were black and swarthy, but they looked firm and sturdy, glittering a gleaming metallic luster.
He now gained the shape of a giant spider. Threads of silk were spewed from his mouth, travelling at a great velocity directly towards Chu Feng. Those swarthy legs of his incised many deeply engraved imprints on the earth and the soil.
The air vibrated and the giant spider man rushed over. Its legs were stiff and straight as they pierced through the air directly towards Chu Feng's body. They were like the spears of Ares, cutting and incisive.
Unfortunately, the black yap that had emerged at the same time cracked and fractured the metallic legs of the spider with ease. Chu Feng clenched his fist and hurled it onto the spider's chest, penetrating the man's heart. As he then withdrew his fist from within the spider's traumatized body, a gaping hole was left gorily dripping in sizzling blood.
The middle-aged man screeched in pain as he flopped and tumbled. Toppled by the severe injury inflicted on him, the man was left groaning and grunting painfully on the concrete ground.
Chu Feng calmly gazed at them. Then, he chained him up together with the other two.
"Yellow Ox! Dump them into the primitive mountains! Feed them to the beasts," Chu Feng said.
Yellow Ox turned its back on him, implying that it refused to comply.
"That woman and that man with the bat wing dug up the hole you made last night, so they know your secret and all that," Chu Feng said.
Chu Feng's words sent Yellow Ox into a raging fury almost instantly. The rage in its eyes made his blood run cold. It bristled with anger when it heard that its most secretive business had been peeped at and spied on by strangers. It stamped about in a frenzy.
"Don't be mad at me! They dug up the dirt that you tried to bury your hole with. You can go and interrogate them if you don't believe me; and think why that woman burst into a continual episode of constant vomit when she saw you?" Chu Feng said.
Oddly enough, Yellow Ox's face was actually changing color; it turned red then purple. Having its secret unearthed, Yellow Ox became angry from shame.
Finally, with the help of Chu Feng, Yellow Ox chained up the three in a single row then dragged it right into the depth of the mountains without the remnant of a scruple.
After it returned, Chu Feng asked about how the three had ended.
Yellow Ox seemed to have soothed its anger. It covered its own eyes with one of its front hooves then made a few bellows. It meant that the scene in the mountains was so horrifying and cruel that even it could not stand to witness.
Chu Feng was rather speechless at how unjustifiable Yellow Ox's show of sympathy had proven to be. It was the calf who sent the three into their demise, and now it shed its crocodile tears.
At night, Chu Feng engrossed himself with an interesting book after taking a hot bath.
This time, he did not contact Lin Naoi or that woman.
Soon later, the communicator rang. It was a voluntary call from the woman. He ignored the ringing communicator, refusing to be distracted from the fascination of the book.
A while later, the communicator rang again. He picked it up.
As expected, it was from the same woman. She raised her voice and inquired about the whereabouts of the man she had deployed to receive the injured bat man. She provided a rather vivid description of the man's usual look then asked him whether or not he had seen a man who matched the description.
"Yes, yes. I did see something. But it was a rather monstrous looking beast that had a half-man, half-spider looks. It descended from heaven to the earth of my yard and nearly dropped to his death," Chu Feng collectedly replied.
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