The night was dark since the moon had concealed itself behind layers of heavy clouds.
The roars of beasts hidden in the lofty mountains was continual, haunting him throughout his homeward journey. There were also sightings of birds of prey spreading their wings for a flight. They were both fierce and swift, drawing a perfect curvaceous trajectory in the night sky.
Chu Feng paused for a moment. He realized that the animals had been quite restless tonight; however, he was not afraid of any dangers that might suddenly show themselves in front of him. He was ready and poised for a fight.
Chu Feng journeyed along a winding road. The road was over a hundred li on end, with many mountains towering beside. Treading on this road would definitely prove to be an oppressive journey for anyone trekking between the towering build of the mountains, but Chu Feng was not afraid. He was composed and collected. At a great speed, he scurried along the trek, in and out of many dense forests.
Later, the clouds dissipated at last, revealing the gentle moonlight cast by a full moon. The brilliant moonlight cast aside the darkness and soothed the restless animals. The travellers on the road could no longer feel oppressiveness decreed by the overpowering darkness.
"The smell of beef should have disappeared by now," Chu Feng murmured. He was finally near Qingyang Village. It was where his home was.
Suddenly, an idea came to mind that prompted him to decide to bribe the calf with a treat!
"Get me one fifty skewers of roast beef!" Chu Feng saw a stall that sold skewered meat near the village. He strode directly towards it.
"No can do, man! We don't sell skewered beef!" the young man at the stall replied as he firmly looked at the other party. "Who even sells skewered beef these days?" he thought. "God I hope he is not another one of those troublemakers looking for troubles this late at night."
"No, sorry… I made a slip of my tongue. I want skewered mutton… Get me one fifty skewers of roast mutton!" Chu Feng leaned against the railings of the stall and looked into the east side of the town with a guilty conscience. It was where his house was, and it was where that troublesome calf lived. He hoped his slip of tongue would not be heard, and that the calf would thus not dash out of its crib and bash him up.
"Give me grains in exchange for these skewers, man. I don't need money!" the young man at the stall firmly said.
He was one of the majority of people nowadays who had been taking goods and food in place of money since the very beginning of the upheavals. Broken roads and fragmented railway systems meant shortages in commodities, and as a result, there was little to no use of the paper currency.
"Look. I know we are not that close, but you know who I am and where I live, so how about you get me the skewers now and I bring you the grains and food tomorrow?" Chu Feng said.
The stall owner was indeed a candid and direct man who did not like to mince his words. "Sure man! I will get you the skewers now!"
"How long had your skewers been frozen for? They haven't gone bad yet, have they?" Chu Feng asked out of not just of curiosity, but more of concern.
The young man, however, answered with a guilty conscience, "It… should be alright."
"As long as it doesn't kill anyone!" Chu Feng padded the young man on his shoulder, looking all generous and open-minded. He did not seem to mind at all the possibility of a night-long suffering from an explosive diarrhoea as a result of the bad meat.
In the end, a sack of roast skewers was taken straight out of the oven. The young man then took on the role as an accomplished cook, sprinkling pinches of cumin and peppers as Chu Feng stood aside, attentively watching.
"Don't eat too much of them, man. I will have nothing to do with it if you have a hippy tummy tonight!" The young man joked.
"Don't worry, man. I've got a strong tummy here." Chu Feng patted on his belly to brandish his confidence. Afterwards, he turned his head to the fridges behind the man and said, "Get me some bottles of beer too, buddy!"
At last, with two bags of roast skewers in hand, Chu Feng swaggered home with his stomach already quite filled with the alcoholic beverages he bought. He was worried that Yellow Ox's keen sense of smell might still detect the odd aroma of roast beef exuding from him, thus by stinking himself with the drinks, he was hoping that he would be able to escape from the calf's detection scot free.
"Yellow Ox, see what I've got for you!" Chu Feng started making a hullabaloo as soon as he stomped his left foot onto his property's ground.
The call summoned the calf at once. It appeared suddenly out of void, looking at Chu Feng with expectation as well as suspicion. It always struck it as odd to see this man being so eagerly attentive with it. Nine out of ten times, this would always mean that it was because he wanted somethings. Then, when the calf saw the bags of skewers held in Chu Feng's hand, a contemptuous look immediately emerged on its face. The calf lifted up its head and showed a scornful look.
"Hey! What is that attitude supposed to mean? I bought these for you with the best of intentions. What are you trying to say with that look of disdain? You heartless son of a b*tch!" Chu Feng glowered at the calf.
Yellow Ox turned all indignant by Chu Feng's scolding words. It wrote words on the yard's soggy soil. It read:You went to see the love of your heart, the goddess of your dream and the wife from your future. You had all these Western food which I'm sure is damn tasty, but look at what you've brought back for me? You think you can just fool me with some cheap ass, second-rate, trashy skewers bought from some roadside stalls? ! All indignant and furious, the calf started breathing white smoke from its nostrils.
Chu Feng agreed that Yellow Ox was in the right, and he was in the wrong, but he still could help cursing at the calf under his breath. "It really is getting harder and harder to fool this calf after it started learning things off the internet."
However, at this critical moment, Chu Feng remained stubborn and reluctant to admit his mistakes as the only way out.
Chu Feng chose to stand on his ground; he insisted, "You thought you knew what the real delicacies were, but I've got to say: what you see from the internet is not always right, Yellow Ox. Now, hear me this. The real delicious delicacies are those you usually tend to overlook. Those you see being cooked at a roadside stall are usually the best of the best. On the other hand, those so-called fine dining really is just trying to fool you with its name. They cost an arm and a leg, but they aren't even half as good as those you've got a roadside stall. Give it a try, Yellow Ox. You will love it!"
Just as he boasted about the savory of the skewers, Chu Feng also silently muttered in his mind and prayed, "Don't get me sick, please… I don't want no diarrhoea from eating this!" Che Feng closed his eyes and gritted his teeth, then with a commendable courage, he bit his first bite to the skewers. "Oh! How delicious!" Chu Feng mumbled and exclaimed.
Yellow Ox kept its suspicion, but it was moved by Chu Feng's grossly exaggerated reaction. At the same time, the savory smell of skewers was, as well, propelling its mind to be persuaded.
At last, the calf could not resist the temptation. Inch by inch, it moved closer to the bags, then with a sudden jerk of its front hooves, the calf snatched a pair of skewers from within the bag. It gobbled down the meat, then suddenly, its eyes widened as it bellowed and groaned.
Chu Feng was taken aback by this reaction. He was already on high alert when the calf chose to take the skewers, and now the commotion put up by the calf had totally made him put on his guard.
"They are all mine now!" Yellow Ox carved the words on the ground. At the very next moment, Chu Feng was physically removed by Yellow Ox from the proximity of the skewers, then he found himself only to be left helplessly looking on at the sideline as Yellow Ox munched away all the delicacies. "Goddamn it! You're such a cheeky folk!" Chu Feng rebuked.
"Moo, moo, moo!" Yellow Ox bleated. It looked all puffed up and proud for being able to have all these spoils to itself. It gobbled away one skewer after another until its whole mouth dribbled with oil.
In fact, the skewers themselves were not bad-tasting at all. The young man at the stall was renowned for his cooking skills in town. Had it not been the concern about food poisoning looming over his mind, Chu Feng would definitely put up a fight and challenge the calf for those bags of roast meat.
Chu Feng agreed to give away all of his purchases to Yellow Ox. He then patted the calf on its shoulder and asked, "Ain't I a generous man, Yellow Ox?"
Yellow Ox stuck out one of its front hooves and shook it in disapproval. Meanwhile, that typical look of despise was yet to be replaced by gratitude.
"You heartless son of a b*tch!" Chu Feng cursed as he bottomed up another bottle of beer to soothe his sorrow.
Yellow Ox seemed interested in the bottle Chu Feng had in hand. It stretched out one of its front hooves and asked for a bottle to drink itself.
"Puff!" The calf only took a sip of the beer before they were spat out again. Yellow Ox glowered at Chu Feng; obviously, it was unimpressed by the taste of the beer.
"See? I told you, sometimes you were just an ignorant idiot who doesn't know how to appreciate. Let me tell you this: this bottle of beer is the best-selling brand in the world, which means that it's the best drink in the world, literally!" Chu Feng asserted.
Chu Feng's words sent the calf into a fit of laughter. Clearly, it was expressing its blatant mockery at him. To Chu Feng's surprise, the calf had learnt what Laffey and Romanee Conti were, so naturally, calling some random unbranded beer bought at a stall the "the best drink in the world" would incur every moment of mockery from the calf it deserved.
Chu Feng was quite embarrassed. "I will take away the communicator from you, you sneaky snitch!" Chu Feng became angry out of embarrassment.
He could not help doubting his decision on granting the calf with a communicator at the first place. "How am I going to fool this cow around in the future if it has already learnt everything from the internet."
In the end, Yellow Ox had swept away more than a hundred skewers before it could eventually feel satisfied. It lied on its back on a rattan chair with arms and legs stretched out. It looked up at the starry sky with quite a satisfied look on its face.
"Yellow Ox, come! Take the pills!" Chu Feng demanded. Yellow Ox turned round to see Chu Feng with a bewildered expression.
"Imodium. The panacea for diarrhoea or any gastrointestinal diseases. Just take it. It's a preventative measure," Chu Feng said with a guilty conscience.
"What?" Yellow Ox rolled out of its rattan chair, glowering at Chu Feng with its flaming eyes.
"Just treat it as… a dose of tonic that will help you to gain a healthier body." Chu Feng shamelessly boasted.
Yellow Ox was ignorant, but it was not dumb. With an extra bit of thinking, it knew that Chu Feng was bluffing it. They were food taken at a roadside stall after all, so it made sense to see medication coming right after the consumption; but how outrageous it was to swindle someone into eating dross while already having the knowledge that it would potentially cause adversity on the health of those who consumed them?
The calf pounded itself on Chu Feng, wanting to teach him a lesson.
The two caused an utter mess in the yard before god knew how long when their boisterous quarrel and fight finally stopped.
At last, Yellow Ox stormed back to its room while still all puffed up with fury and anger.
Chu Feng, on the other hand, now had a face contorting in agony. He grimaced with the pain that was inflicted by the calf. It was only thanks to the strong constitution he had that he was now still able to maintain his normal body functions.
He stumbled to the shower room, then had a hot bath in there. He had been shuttling back and forth between the county town and Qingyang Village many times, which was then coupled by the fierce battle against Yellow Ox. That decadent look on his face said nothing but profound fatigue.
Chu Feng's head was all muddled and tipsy when he finally got to his room. It was partially the aftereffect of his alcoholic abuse just then. He entered the room when it was pitch black, but he could not be bothered to turn the light on. He stumbled across the room, then tumbled head first into the cuddly mattress, falling asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow.
Chu Feng woke up with a start. Chu Feng returned from the state of him being dead to the world to now being not sleepy at all.
"Pitter-patter." Chu Feng's hair rustled in fear. There was someone in the bed with him! Hastily, he withdrew himself to the other side of the room and struck the light switch with a bang.
What was this! Chu Feng was all flabbergasted. There was indeed another person in his bed! It was a woman, and a pretty one as well. She seemed to have been awakened by Chu Feng's slamming weight into the bed just then. There was a confused look on her face as she struggled to open her eyes.
"Who are you? What are you doing here in my house, in my room, on my bed, in my mattress, under my quilt, sleeping on my pillow? Are you trying to sexually harass me?!"
This was Chu Feng's accusative voice. He sounded all serious and indignant. He stood on his feet, crossed-armed, calling the woman in bed to account. He was baffled by the situation, so he wanted to forestall this stranger by a show of strength.
Letting a woman, especially a pretty one, scream and wail in his room was the last thing he wanted.
Chu Feng's heart skipped a beat as he sized up the woman. The woman was not just an average beauty; she was quite a stunning one as well. She looked in her twenties, dressed in a suit of white. Satiny hair that was well-combed hung loosely down to her neck. She looked both sweet and youthful, vigorous and endearing.
The commotion had not completely awakened her.
The woman sat in bed with surprising equanimity. She was not an ordinary woman, and this was evidently reflected by her calm and collected attitude in such a situation. The woman had an attractive countenance, and with her bright and piercing eyes, she looked around the room before sizing up the man standing not far away from her. The pleasant and cozy environment in addition to this harmless-looking ordinary man uneasily positioned in front of her made her feel more at home and less threatened.
There was a sharp pain at the back of her head that made her frown. She softly ran her hands over the spot where the pain concentrated before asking, "Did you knock me out and bring me here?"
"When on earth had I ever done such things to anyone? If I had something in plan, do you think you would still be intact and in good condition right now?" Chu Feng made a flat denial. This was definitely something for which he would not want to be made a scapegoat.
"Then why are you here?" the young woman asked. Although she had been remaining relatively calm throughout her interaction with this strange man in the room, she was more or less in a state of nerves. Just when the words were exchanged between the two, the woman secretly examined her body to see if anything had gone awry.
"That was a question I wanted to ask you. When did you come in here? And why did you climb into my bed? What do you want to do to me?" Being all thick-skinned and brazen was Chu Feng's merits, so without much feeling of shame or embarrassment, Chu Feng started implicitly accusing the woman of her attempted practice of sexual assault on him.
Chu Feng's words raised the woman's eyebrows. How could this man go on at her all this time while she, being the real victim abducted to this house, had to refrain from losing her temper?
"Wait a second… have a rest here, lady. I will be back with you soon." Chu Feng hurried off downstairs, bursting into Yellow Ox's room. "You Demon Ox! What have you done?!"
Yellow Ox was still in a sulk when Chu Feng suddenly barged into its room, and this almost reignited its anger and furthered its exasperation. Luckily, Chu Feng helped the calf keep its temper in check in time.
"Why is there a woman in my room? Did you abduct her to… give me as a present?"
Yellow Ox stuck up one of its front hooves to express its contempt in response to Chu Feng's conjecture.
At last, Chu Feng figured out what had indeed happened.
It was late at night before Chu Feng had arrived home. Yellow Ox followed its routine and went burying its "treasure" in the orchid farm. On its way back, the calf saw a woman strolling and wandering aimlessly in the nearby region, and it could also tell that she was a mutant.
It thought that the woman would be one those who were here to cause Chu Feng trouble.
The calf expected the woman to set up her ambush around Chu Feng's house, then sure enough she did.
When the woman finally started approaching the yard of the house, the calf quietly closed in, and without demur, it flung its hooves to the back of the woman's head, watching as she rolled back her eyes and lost her consciousness.
"You're a real cold-hearted bastard, aren't you? Hit a woman then watch her pass out," Chu Feng joked.
"I knocked a woman out while you killed a real beauty in the county town," Yellow Ox silently cursed. It had learnt about Chu Feng's assassination in town while the two had their treat with the roast skewers.
"Then what? You just threw her into my room?" Chu Feng asked.
Yellow Ox seemed to have found it a bit embarrassing to admit. Seeing the calf to show a look of shame and embarrassment was something hard to come by, but in fact, it admitted that later, it realized that there were more mutants surging into Qingyang Village as well. They were here for a night of sleep-over at somewhere cozy and pleasant. It was the calf being overanxious that the woman took a sudden blow on the back of the head; so to redeem itself from this "oops-a-daisy" moment, Yellow Ox had decided to re-accommodate the woman in Chu Feng's room.
"You've really stirred things up now, Yellow Ox! How dare you chuck a random woman in my bed? What am I going to say to the love of my heart, the goddess of my dream, my wife from the future if she finds out that I've almost slept with another woman?" Chu Feng glowered at the calf.
"You will eventually talk your way out!" Chu Feng wrote this on a scrap of paper. It then stuck out one of its front hooves, pointing it at the entrance to the room, signalling for Chu Feng to hurry up and leave!
In the end, Chu Feng had no alternative but to retreat himself from the calf's cozily furnished room, and sluggishly wobbled upstairs into that stigma with the woman.
She was, however, a true beauty with the look of an enchanting seductress. Chu Feng was stunned by the sight she posed.
At this moment, the woman had well adjusted herself to the new environment. She was quite calm and collected while standing by the window, gazing at the starry sky.
Chu Feng was unsure whether to relate the truth to her. His words would only prove to be unconvincing if he only said that it was a calf who had struck her down.
Bringing Yellow Ox face-to-face to verify his words would possibly incur further troublesome business for him and the calf. If the news of a golden calf being kept in a household at the foot of Taihang Mountains were to be let known to the world, he would probably never see peace and tranquility again at his house.
"Do you have something to eat?" the woman asked.
Chu Feng was astounded. It was to his pleasant surprise that the woman seemed to have no intents to ask him to answer for the blow done to her. She was instead unflustered and at ease.
"Yes. I've got some left-overs in the yard," Chu Feng replied. There were still some cold skewers left in the bag.
A faint smile crept across her face. The smile was both sweet and pleasant, making her much more of a charming lady than she was before. "Are you not a mutant?" she asked.
"No, I'm not." Chu Feng nodded.
"It was a mutated beast that made the surprise attack on me. I perceived it creeping up to me at the very last moment before it struck the back of my head. It was a powerful beast to say the least." The woman's words set his mind at rest. Now, he was at least reassured that the woman would not blame him for the attack.
"Do you keep a beast with you?" she asked. The smile on her face still lingered. It was gentle and visceral. The corners of her mouth were raised at an angle that suggested her interest in knowing the answer.
"No! Of course I don't!" Chu Feng vehemently denied.
Just as they were talking, the two arrived at the yard. The woman saw the skewers wrapped in the plastic bags and frowned upon sight. But, however unappetizing the skewers might seem to her, her yearning for food seemed to not have dwindled. At last, she picked up a skewer and nibbled away.
She ate in quite a refined manner. It carried a great deal of elegance as well. Even though it was only some skewers to be munched on, she still chose to be gracious in manner. Chu Feng supposed that her manners must have been developed because of an unusual family background that had trained her to adopt the set of demeanors of an upper-class.
After a few skewers, the woman drew a communicator from her pocket and started replying to messages. The smile on her face was subsidized by a frowning look. She seemed concerned.
"Alright. It's time for me to leave. My people must be really worried because of my prolonged disappearance. I will come look for that beast and settle all accounts with it some time in the future!" the woman said. Then, with only a hop and a leap, the woman ascended to the great height of the night sky. Dazzling luminescence formed in the shape of wings emerged behind her back. It exuded a glorious shine that had also allowed her to flutter in mid-air. There was a certain aspect of her look that made her seem rather celestial and heavenly.
The hair that hung loosely around her snow-white neck was stroked by the gentle breeze that flowed through the air. Her bright eyes looked charmingly wonderful and piercing. That suit of white in which she cladded enabled her to look both pure and incorruptible by the outside world. It caused any beholder an illusion that she was a goddess descending from the heaven above.
"Wait!" Chu Feng bellowed.
The young woman turned around to brandish her beauty to the world below once again. She was a charming lady, and now she was also an alluring goddess. With only the faintest smile, she could still be seen exuding an aura of a gentle and mysterious luster.
"What's wrong?" she asked. "Catch this!" Chu Feng tossed a bottle to mid-air.
"What is this?" The woman looked baffled. Bewilderment was written on her face after she had successfully caught the bottle in hand. The light wings that were extending from her posterior radiated the holiest brilliance.
"Medicine for diarrhoea!"
The woman's body slightly quivered as Chu Feng informed her of the substance inside. Even though her face was the perfect embodiment of the notion of godly beauty, one could still see the fierce look exuding from her eyes. She turned her back on him, then fluttered her wings and soared skyward.
"Don't throw it away! Keep it somewhere safe!" Chu Feng loudly shouted.
The woman paused for a brief instant in mid-air. One could tell that she was holding back from something, but at the blink of an eye, the woman disappeared in the night sky.
Soon later, she reunited with the other mutants who had come along with her.
"Thank God. We have all been out of touch with you for so long. We thought folks from Deity might have set up an ambush for you or something..."
"Thank God you're here!"
Her return seemed to be much of a relief to many of the mutants present.