"Was it perfectly happy to be called Yellow Ox?" Zhou Quan was dumbstruck when he learned about how willing the calf was to be assigned with such an unimaginative name. He saw this as rather an insult to him.
He had once named the calf Demon Ox, but his suggestion was soon turned down by the calf and he was given a cold shoulder as a result. Scorn and despise had been written all over the calf's face when it heard the name. Therefore, it made it all the more unconceivable how this picky bastard eventually chose to settle down on such a mediocre name, and this was what made him feel insulted.
Yellow Ox bellowed. It raised its head and wore quite an insolent look on its face, as if it was expressing its profound content and claiming the pride it had taken in this name it had chosen.
"Stop being such a snobbish bastard," Zhou Quan ranted.
In his perspective, a name could not get any more unfashionable than "Yellow Ox". "Perhaps," he thought. "This bastard just doesn't know better. It must be the last person in this world who was given such a name and still feel good about it. What an idiot!" Zhou Quan silently cursed.
Yellow Ox looked askance at Zhou Quan. The despise on its face was yet to dwindle.
The trio progressed further into the depth of the mountains. The winding path was getting increasingly indistinctive from the overgrowth of weeds and bushes. This served as an effective indication that few people had ever trodden this far into the mountains. The scenery around them was getting more and more desolate and out-of-the-way. Zhou Quan turned a bit flustered and alarmed. Where are they? He felt he had been stranded in the middle of nowhere for quite a while now. Everywhere he looked, another mountain of a greater height stood in the way of his line of sight, blocking his vision.
Suddenly, a blasting roar of a beast pierced through the miasma of smog that enshrouded the forest. It shattered all silence, sending a long whistle across the dense woods. The wind that accompanied the howling roar rustled the leaves, turning the scene to a prelude of something ominous.
A shiver ran down Zhou Quan's back at once, making all his hair stand on their ends.
"Man… are you sure we're on the right path? I think we've mistakenly stepped into a primitive mountain. Let's hurry up and leave this place!" Zhou Quan looked startled. The look in his eyes spoke of fear and profound anxiety.
"Yes, we're on the right path. We only need to brace ourselves to venture through this section of the road, then we will get there. Ever heard of Shangri-la, Arcadia or Xanandu? Those were all lands of idyllic beauty, albeit hidden undiscovered from the world outside behind some twisty roads or colossal mountains. They were a world on their own, and so is the one we're going to," Chu Feng said with a smile.
"Really? Behind this mountain?" Zhou Quan was taken aback, but soon the dismal look on his unhappy face was replaced by a look of profound enthusiasm. He rubbed his hands in glee as he thought of all the beauty and fun he would be able to indulge himself into. "So you say they've been built into a world of its own? Oh, man! It really proves itself to be on par with the level of luxury that a financial magnate would like to claim. The appearance of the primitive mountains after the upheavals has really created a certain mystique about the place, hasn't it?"
"Yes, indeed!" Chu Feng echoed.
Zhou Quan smiled with a bob of his head. "How exciting!"
Finally, they crossed the boundary and entered the primitive mountains, thus began Zhou Quan's wonderful journey to this tender land!
Zhou Quan suddenly staggered and led out a raucous cry as they were walking. He was covered with gooseflesh, and the shock almost startled him to death.
Right ahead, there was a giant bear. Its face was as large as a house. The bear was sticking out his curious head just as Zhou Quan tumbled across an innocent array of small bushes. The sudden emergence of the bear's face caught Zhou Quan off-guard, almost knocking into Zhou Quan's unsuspecting body.
The bear could easily swallow quite a number of adults whole if it opened its bloody mouth.
Zhou Quan was frightened out of his wits and almost wetted his pants in terror. He hastily tumbled back, withdrawing himself behind the back of Yellow Ox and Chu Feng in discomfiture.
Chu Feng chided the bear and ticked it off. The bear was also taken back by the sight of Chu Feng, then in a hurry, it ran off into the depths of the forest. It was all in a fluster as the bear retreated, because for not once had it witnessed the brutal murder of some of the even stronger beasts by this man in the mountains. The bear had intelligence of its own. It had learnt from its peers' mistakes. It knew that the only way by which it could counter this ferocious man was to run whenever the man appeared.
"It… ran off?" Zhou Quan was astonished and bewildered.
"Nah, it's the bear kept by the abbey, so usually, it's quite friendly to others. It is also quite shy with strangers, and so that's why it ran off when it sees me," Chu Feng calmly explained.
Zhou Quan felt puzzled. What kind of abbey was this? It really was a mysterious little place full of thrillers and conundrums. Although he was somewhat fearful, the cryptic nature of the abbey made him all the more expectant.
"Oh! Sh*t! Ghost!" Before long, Zhou Quan cried an unearthly cry once again.
Inadvertently, Chu Feng raised his head. As he looked up, he caught sight of a thread of white silk with the thickness of a man's thumb. Hanging from it, a spider with the size of a nether millstone dropped down to a distance of less than three feet above his head.
Zhou Quan was terrified, and his limbs were paralyzed by terror. He plopped himself down on the dampened soil, and with all four limbs, he scurried back hastily.
Chu Feng did not care a rap. With a swift kick, he sent the spider flying.
Zhou Quan showed the whites of his eyes in terror. His throat felt constricted, so he swallowed hard. Then, he thumped on his chest, feeling a bit suffocated. The shock almost made him slip into a state of coma just then.
"Hey, man… Umm… I don't think we should continue down this road. How about we turn back and head to the town and enjoy our time there? Why do I have this bizarre feeling that I'm watching, or rather acting, in a blockbuster in a prehistoric setting? Look at those monstrous creatures! Why are there so many?"
His breath was rasping in his heaving chest. He found the current situation a bit hard to accept or to believe.
At the same time, he was also awed by how fearless Chu Feng was. How could he dare to stamp on a spider of that enormous size without the blink of an eye?
But before long, Zhou Quan soon found how much of an understatement it was to say that Chu Feng was a daring man!
Because, without a sound, a one-eyed wolf creeped up to them. It was quite a sizeable beast. Its body length was at least ten meters in measurement, and its height was more than just a few meters. Its fangs were white and sharp, like a cutting knife with unparalleled sharpness.
At the same time, this one-eyed wolf also had a pair of wings. It was a volant beast that was clearly capable of flying!
Zhou Quan cringed in horror, but then he noticed that Chu Feng was quite the opposite of him. Chu Feng made a beeline straight for the beast; calm and composed, he raised his fist to slug the wolf.
Zhou Quan was completely dumbstruck in very next moment.
Chu Feng had the perfect combination of unparalleled agility coupled with an unmatchable force. Accompanied by an endless string of thunderous rumble, the one-eyed wolf bellowed in pain when Chu Feng's fist came down on his fleshy body. It retreated one step after another, steadily losing its ground.
"Am I dreaming? What am I watching right now? Have I returned to the prehistoric times of the Earth or am I watching an epic blockbuster?!" Zhou Quan bit his lower lip, ascertaining that this was indeed not a dream.
Zhou Quan was still cringing in terror. The level of terror he was experiencing was unprecedented for him. He wanted to turn tail and run away from this great chaos.
Yellow Ox looked scornfully at Zhou Quan. It then suddenly disappeared, but soon it came back with a three-meter monkey chasing after it. The calf deliberately lured the monkey to the direction where Zhou Quan stood.
"Uh… Help me!"
Zhou Quan cried out in terror. He almost wet his pants just by noticing the sheer size of that giant monkey who was hopping and skipping closer and closer towards him, let alone that mouthful of cutting teeth that the monkey was brandishing as it looked down at Zhou Quan. It almost felt like the monkey had been looking at a vulnerable chick nervously running in profound terror and panic.
The place suddenly became a disorderly mess as Zhou Quan ran for his life while being chased by that furious monkey.
Just as the saying went, "a baited cat may become as fierce as a lion". The cornered man was desperate, so he finally bit back. A massive column of flame burst out of his mouth. The flame could easily melt stones and gold with its menacing temperature. With a puff, the flame turned a towering old tree into ashes.
The giant monkey was taken aback, hastily retreating as it re-evaluated the power of this opponent.
Zhou Quan's face turned pale. He retreated back as well.
Chu Feng had already finished that one-eyed wolf and joined the battleground against the giant monkey.
"Stay calm. You need to exploit your superhuman power as a mutant to its full potential. Don't be afraid of a monkey!" Chu Feng encouraged.
"Oh, shut up. Where is the abbey? Where is my tender land? And what on earth is this place?" Zhou Quan whimpered in a tearful voice as his body shivered in fear.
"The abbey is not open to everyone. Those who enter must first complete this task, so hurry up and defeat this monkey for us to continue!" Chu Feng solemnly said.
"Ah…" Zhou Quan ululated. He was forced to put up a desperate fight and to risk his life to defy death. He thrust himself to the monkey with a certain degree of ferocity and savagery. He desperately wanted to kill it, and he chose to do that with unadulterated fury.
Zhou Quan opened his mouth, continuously ejecting flames of fire. Raging flames lit up the sky, undulating the entire region under a sea of fire.
Chu Feng and Yellow Ox hurriedly stopped him, afraid that he might end up burning down the whole forest.
Severely burnt and wounded, the giant monkey ran off.
Zhou Quan slumped down on the ground, then he lied down as he panted. His body was dabbled by the profuse amount of sweat which was mostly due to the profound fear and terror he just underwent.
"Hey man, how about we quit this rite of passage to that tender land of mine? Let's just head back, so at least in the end, we will be still alive, or I don't think my heart is going to stand it any longer," Zhou Quan said in a tearful voice.
"Take things as they come, so don't be afraid. See? If you can fight off a giant monkey, as a mutant, nothing else should strike fear in you," Chu Feng comforted him.
"But this is not a place for a human to be in. Look at all those prehistoric animals. I want to head back!" Zhou Quan violently shook his head.
However, neither Chu Feng nor Yellow Ox was willing to head back just yet.
"And right, how did you manage to stay calm and fight off that giant wolf? How did you get so capable in fighting?"
"If you treat the battles against those beasts as an everyday hobby, I'm sure you will also be able to stay poised when facing those beasts," Chu Feng replied.
Moments later, when Chu Feng fought and killed another giant bird of prey, Zhou Quan finally realized how invincible this brother of his actually was.
"What an epic blockbuster!" Zhou Quan muttered under his breath.
The fight between the bird and Chu Feng was quite a fierce and intense one. They fought on the ground then ascended to the tip of an ancient tree. From there, Chu Feng sprung to his feet and thrust himself onto the soaring bird. He positioned himself on top of the bird's wing, ascending as the bird was. Meanwhile, he jabbed and slugged the giant bird time after time, eventually beating it to a state of unconsciousness due to blood loss. The bird and man duo slid in mid-air for a few hundred meters before plummeting to the earth below.
Zhou Quan felt that the events that happened today had all taken leave of his senses. It had been so long that he could no longer make sense of anything at all. The unbelievable series of encounters made him totally at a loss.
"Is this… the tender land?"
God knew how long before Zhou Quan finally collected himself. He muttered to himself as he finally came to realize the truth behind this "tender land" he was dreaming of. But admittedly, he could barely stand any of these "tender" torment and affliction any more.
Zhou Quan felt like he had passed today as if it had been a year!
In the end, Zhou Quan burst into tears. Today's experience had surely been imprinted into his bones and inscribed into his heartfelt memory.
"Now I understand why people say that 'the tender land is the tomb of a hero'. Oh! What a painful journey in order to gain this insight! And what an appropriate saying it is!"