"Ah… Snake! An eight-headed snake! Help!"
"A two-meter silver centipede! Oh my God! It's chasing me! Help! Chu Feng you bastard. This isn't even remotely a tender land like you promised! You no-good lying son of a b*tch! What're you doing? Come and help me kill this f*cking thing!"
"Ah! Here it comes again! A black tiger! Look! Did you see how it crushed a heavy boulder with only its paws? Oh sh*t! Oh sh*t! Ah… I'm exhausted. Demon Ox! Chu Feng! Come and help me!"
Zhou Quan uttered dreary cries and screams, wailing like ghosts and howling like wolves. He ran like a lamaster, wildly sprinting, desperate to live. He fled in disorder, exhausting himself to a state of near collapse. In the end, he looked like an epilepsy patient, foaming at the mouth, with seizures all over his body. His body turned limpy, and his legs were enfeebled by the combination of profound fatigue, terror and shock.
Finally, Chu Feng agreed to end this journey when noon arrived, since all three were feeling quite ravenous.
At the moment when Chu Feng finally called it a day, Zhou Quan almost burst into tears. To know that he could finally wake from this nightmare of endless chasing and running, he was ever so happy.
His voice had long been lost. For the past five hours, Zhou Quan was either busy shouting and wrangling in fear or projecting flames to fight off the offensive predators.
"Oh, man! How much of a bastard you are! You promised me that my heart and lung would quiver in excitement. And yes, I admit that I do have felt my heart quivering, but it was all because I was almost scared sh*tless, you bastard!" Zhou Quan cursed as he panted for breath.
He turned his head, looking regretfully over to the mountains. The range was enshrouded in a miasma of fog and smoke as the string of awe-inspiring roars of the beasts continued. He wanted to go in there no more. Every piece of memory of today's near-death experience had etched in his collective mind, and all of them were soul-wrenching to say the least.
"Do you know how I managed to beat all those beasts and birds of prey with such ease? Because I steel myself amidst the profound peril that lingered in the depth of these mountains day after day. Weeks of continual training had made me accustomed to the primitive nature here. That's why I'm fearless and skilful," Chu Feng comforted him.
"Nah, I shouldn't be mentioned in the same breath with you. We are not placed in the same category in the first place. Your fist can crash stones and kill beasts and birds of prey. You've already proven to be one of them beasts yourself, but I'm not. I'm still a human, so an ordinary weakling like me won't survive in the mountains," Zhou Quan shouted.
"You're a mutant. You can project fire that melt stones and gold. The power you possess is astonishing. Provided that you can master your own power, survival shouldn't be a problem for you," Chu Feng said.
He knew that as a mutant, Zhou Quan's power had much potential that could be unlocked by a continual effort of endless training, and only in so doing could he release the hidden power buried deep underneath.
Moreover, the horns growing on Zhou Quan's skull could potentially mean that the fruit he had swollen whole had a lot to do with the clan of Demon Ox, so perhaps he was now a member of the clan, and this could well enable him to easily acquire a few positions of the Demon Ox Boxing Style from Yellow Ox. After mastering these positions, he would be well-prepared for the forthcoming brave new world.
Chu Feng was solemn as he spelled out his concerns. One day, the seal of the mountains would prove to be ineffective in barring those beasts behind the boundary of the mountains; when that day arrived, the monstrous beasts who had been residing deep in these mountains would wake from their dormant state and haunt the world outside.
Besides, who would know what other horrific horrors would ensue in the future.
The time prior to hell breaking loose was limited and critical. Only those who were willing to steel themselves with vigor and strength would beat the odds and gain an edge over the others in a daunting world.
Zhou Quan was listlessly slouching beside a boulder as Chu Feng continued his tirade of preaching. The immediate sense of crisis boiling within people across the globe when the series of upheavals first began had started to moderate when the world had seemingly been restored with peace and calm in the recent days. Zhou Quan was of no exception either. But now, his idea had started to shift.
"Yes, brother of mine, I know all the things you've done and said today is for my best interest. You were right! I do need to rise up and fight for myself!" Zhou Quan was determined.
In the mountains, two men cuddled with a calf around a flickering bonfire. The meat of the bird of prey had been thoroughly roasted. It shone with a glittering gold; its tantalizing aroma of roast meat also filled the air. The fire hissed and whirred as oil of the bird's flesh started to drizzle down.
"How would anything even be a close match to the savoriness of this meat? I mean, this just smells bloody marvelous!" Zhou Quan had banished all memory of the sufferings and misery earlier from his mind. Watching as the meat slowly gain an appetizing shiny and golden layer, his desire for this chunk of meat started to slowly grow unchecked. His hunger had become ever so insufferable, especially after that array of hard-fought battles had almost exhausted him to death.
Chu Feng sprinkled a pinch of table salt in addition to a thin layer of honey on top of the roast. This rendered the meat into a proper cuisine which exuded an even more tempting smell that grew thicker by the minute.
The three finally began eating. They sunk their fingers into the juicy fibers then dug out a giant chunk from the roast. They gulped and munched on the meat like a mindless zombie or an edacious beast.
All of a sudden, the loud sound of mastication and hard swallowing suffused the air. All three engorged themselves like wolves and tigers.
"Oh god! If this were a musical performance, I'm sure this would well qualify as a 'tour-de-force', as what it's called by the French. The savoriness of the taste, the tenderness of the fiber, the temptation in the smell… oh my, oh my…" Zhou Quan exclaimed in admiration.
Zhou Quan was not exaggerating. Some of the beasts and birds of prey which resided in the mountains did have flesh with exceptional taste and smell once cooked. With only the slightest processing, the meat could then gain an unusual palatable taste. In addition, the sensational smell could also fill the air for quite a long time.
The meat was part of a sizeable talon of the giant bird. The three had nibbled away even the tiniest gobbet of meat left on the bone. Had it not been that they had all completely eaten to their fill, they might have roasted the other talon of the dead bird too.
"I'm so satisfied. This marvelous taste… Oh blimey… I bet this is what a feast in heaven feels like. I will definitely come back here in the future just for these tasty meat!" Zhou Quan was ever so content. He lolled on the ground, petting his bulged belly with a satisfied grin on his face. He seemed to have utterly forgotten about the moment when he was wailing like ghosts and howling like wolves. He had cast the moments of his utter dreary cries and screams behind his back.
Chu Feng and Yellow Ox was munching on a bloody berry. The fruit was so tender that it just melted in their mouths. The taste was sweet and fragrant. Undoubtedly, the berry was a top-grade fruit.
Zhou Quan had a taste of the berry then, at once, started robbing them from Chu Feng's hands. Even when he had eaten to his fill, he still gluttonously stuffed the berries into his mouth. His crammed mouth did not stop him from yelling, saying that from now on, this place had officially become his tender land.
Yellow Ox showed a look of disdain as soon as it heard Zhou Quan's exclamation. It reached into its bag and swooped out a communicator. With a fit of violent poking on the screen, the calf showed Zhou Quan a few photos it had taken earlier.
Zhou Quan turned exasperated from embarrassment almost instantly.
"Demon Ox! How dare you videotape me without my consent? And look what you've taken? There are no video recordings of me fighting off groups of beasts with courage and valor, but instead you filmed all those embarrassing moments. What the hell is wrong with you?!" Zhou Quan was depressed and discontented.
Each photo and video that the calf had taken had a character of its own. Chu Feng burst into a fit of laughter after only a glance.
One photo had Zhou Quan showing the whites of his eyes due to terror and shock. Another one was a video recorded as Zhou Quan covered his head and scurried away like a rat to its hole with tears streaming down his bony cheeks. There was also a photo of Zhou Quan being frightened out of his wits, and his pupils dilated from the dread of the situation.
There were only a few photos, but every single one of them could be called a "classic".
"Wait!" Suddenly, Zhou Quan's expression shifted. "Did you… did you upload these photos onto to the internet!?" Zhou Quan involuntarily cried out.
Yellow Ox loftily stood on a boulder, nodding its head as a form of acknowledgement.
Zhou Quan almost spat out blood because of anger. His photos were now disclosed to millions of people across the globe, and before long, all of these vivid depictions of his most embarrassing moment would go viral across the web.
Zhou Quan was exasperated. "Demon Ox! I'll fight it out with you!"
But Yellow Ox did not seem to have realized the severity of its action. It was rather baffled by Zhou Quan's swing in mood. His irritable temperament made him all the more despicable in Yellow Ox's eyes, so it greeted Zhou Quan with a violent side kick, sending him into the air as it charged at him.
"Demon Ox! You're such a bully!" Zhou Quan was hopping mad that he was incapable of any actions to avenge for the wrongs Yellow Ox had done to him.
"Don't worry, man. Everyday, thousands of new photos are uploaded to the internet. Many of them have been simply buried deep in the pile and drew little attention from the public. I reckon you'll be fine," Chu Feng comforted.
Chu Feng's calming words did console him a great deal. He lost his exasperating temper and put his mind at rest.
He edged in on Yellow Ox to catch a glance at the number of the people who had browsed this embarrassing collection of photos, but seeing it caused his blood pressure to skyrocket. A dizziness overcame him, blurring his vision.
Only minutes had passed since the upload, but the number of views had passed millions!
"Demon Ox! I'll kill you!"
Zhou Quan cried an unearthly cry. He erupted in fury.
"Well, to be honest, this is really quite impressive. I'm afraid that your photos have officially become a viral topic on the internet now," Chu Feng commented on the side.
"F*ck me! Oh god… What should I do!?" Zhou Quan lowered his face to his hands. He felt ever so helpless and desperate. He had a feeling that soon enough, these photos would be made known to every family and every household across the nation and the globe.
But being known for these particular photos of his was not exactly the type of fame he wished for.
"Demon Ox! Do you see how much trouble you have caused?!" Zhou Quan lunged at the calf then wrestled with it.
Obviously, his skill was no match. The calf easily subdued him.
Zhou Quan took a peep at Yellow Ox's communicator. Thousands of comments had been written to poke fun at him.
"These pictures are only so-so if you look at them separately, but by putting everything together to make a collection out of them, it really has the potential to be a unique set of emoticons."
"Yes! Absolutely. I bet that these emoji could stay relevant and viral for at least half a year. You're right. I need to get them now!"
"What a dumb-dumb. Who would still comb their hair like him these days."
"Very nice pictures. Thanks for sharing!"
Zhou Quan snatched the communicator from Yellow Ox's front hooves. His valor and his fighting capacity suddenly skyrocketed as he converted his anger in words, furiously typing long passages of resentful words to retaliate those who had negatively commented in the comment section below.
Chu Feng seemed quite speechless.
"Where is the administrator? Hurry up and delete these photos!"
Zhou Quan lodged a complaint to the administrator of the website in hopes that these photos could be taken down.
However, the administrator quickly responded: Sorry. We cannot accept your request to take down the photos. 99% of our users have requested to make this the top story of the month, so we will willingly accept their request and stick your story on the top of the home page for the remainder of 30 days.
Zhou Quan almost gave in and spat out blood. Not only had his request been cold-bloodedly rejected, his embarrassing moments would also top the internet search for a month. "What kind of a f*cking bastard the administrator is!" Zhou Quan shouted abuse.
"Hahaha…" Chu Feng could no longer keep a straight face, so he broke into a fit of giggles.
As for Yellow Ox, the initiator of evil, it was very much enjoying the moment. The calf received an array of compliments from the anonymous users on the internet. Many of the comments were on its side.
"What an ingenious capture of some of the finest moments in human history!"
Seeing how Yellow Ox was flattered by the compliments of its work, Zhou Quan could not bear it anymore. His anger had reached its boiling point. With his eyes suddenly gaining a murderous look, Zhou Quan smashed the communicator onto a boulder.
Yellow Ox was quick of eyes and deft of hooves. It caught its beloved communicator just before it fell into its demise.
"It's not that bad." Chu Feng thoroughly examined the pictures that had been posted then made such comment.
In this moment of despair, hearing something like this from Chu Feng's mouth felt like he had seen a clear stream of sweet spring trickling across a scorching desert. He found comfort in Chu Feng's words. "Are you saying that these photos may not be as embarrassing as I think they are?" Zhou Quan asked, begging for reassurance.
"Very embarrassing, alright, but there was not a single hint about those monstrous creatures chasing after you were exposed in these photos, therefore, it's not that bad!" Chu Feng replied. Zhou Quan turned his back on him, ignoring him for the moment.
Soon later, Zhou Quan's communicator rang. Someone was calling him.
"Oh, my dear cousin! I've got to admit the adeptness in your skills of posing for pictures! Your genius in this field has really made you the most famous man in the world right now!"
These, of course, were no words of consolation to him. Zhou Quan leapt to his feet, hopping mad that even his close relative was mocking him for his embarrassment. Driven by fury, Zhou Quan was about to smash the communicator in hand, then the realization that it was his own communicator stopped him just in time. All he could do was to curse into the communicator then hung up.
However, another call reached to him soon after. This time, it was his younger cousin. His cousin's loud and braying voice was immediately heard as the call was picked up. "Oh, brother of mine! I would throw myself down at your feet in admiration if I were with you right now! You're a gifted genius!"
"Gifted my as*! F*ck off!" Zhou Quan finally lashed out.
But these were only the beginning of a string of successive calls one after another from his relatives and his friends. All were sending their sarcastic compliment in regard to the photos posted.
Zhou Quan turned off his communicator. His face was purple, and his eyes glared as if they would burst from their sockets. "Argh… Just f*cking kill me!"