At Chu Feng's house. Night.
The thick aroma of stewed tyrannosaur meat with soy sauce suffused the air, enticing even those who stood far away from the kitchen. The meat was still raw in the iron pot, but Yellow Ox was already on the seat's edge. The calf barged into the kitchen times after times, checking on the status of the ruddy meat.
"Time to eat!"
Yellow Ox burst out of its room as soon as these three words were called.
And here began the battle between a man and an ox for the share of the meat. Any unfairness in the proportion of distribution would lead to unending conflicts and disputes.
"The meat was so fresh and tasty!" Chu Feng gasped in admiration. The tyrannosaur who had mastered a specific form of breathing rhythm had its body constitution evolved and mutated. Its blood that contained a special, albeit mystical, substance flowed in its veins and brought the substance to every cell around the fleshy body.
The entire day had been spent in diligent working, and right now, it was already quite late at night, so naturally, this led to quite a good appetite for both the man and the ox.
After dinner, Chu Feng browsed through the news, feasting on all sorts of reports regarding the mutants around the globe. At the same time, the news was also the source of information that updated him with the actions that were going on in Taihang Mountains.
"Tens of thousands of mutants converge at Taihang Mountains…"
The news caused a great stir worldwide upon publishing. Many people joined the fierce debates that were evaluating the chance of break-out of a large-scale war in this northern mountain range region.
Many reports emphasized the presence of Deity Biomedical Group, reporting that the company was determined to win this time. Besides their latest technology and ample supply of manpower, many of the company's top executives had personally come to the scene to give guidance.
Chu Feng even saw a picture of Lin Naoi. Although it was only a shot of her silhouette, it still looked stunningly beautiful. The frosty yet gorgeous appearance prompted many to gasp in admiration.
"Is this one of the top executives from Deity Biomedical Group? She looks rather too gorgeous!"
People were filled with wonder at the sight of the girl's beauty. No-one had expected a young woman looking so charming to be working as one of the top executives of this multi-billion-dollar company. Many people's heart had been swayed and attracted to such a beauty.
"Graceful carriage and unparalleled charm. Manifestation of when beauty meets youth. Isn't this just beautiful? More beautiful than any of the actresses and singers in vogue!"
"Sadly, it is only a picture of her silhouette. How I wish it was a real photo of her that was properly taken!"
Even the reporters had not expected that an illustration used to complement the news article could receive more attention than the article itself, stirring up such a sensation amongst the public.
Similarly, there were also articles that mentioned Bodhi Genes. This giant in the industry would most likely have to cross swords with Deity to contend for the ultimate fruit that grew in that very mountain.
Lately, there had also been news reporting that these two tycoons of the country had clashes on multiple occasions, with each resulting in considerable casualties for both parties.
"Fruit on the Verge of Maturity. World on the Brink of War. Stronger versus the Strongest. WHO WILL WIN? Place your bet below!"
This was the headline of an influential forum who had dedicated a page of their website for the fervent users of the internet to share and discuss under its thread.
It was not long before the thread was pelted with follow-ups posts. Kong Kim and Silver Wing won most of the bets. The world knew exactly how things would stand. The so-called "war" would eventually boil down to a toe-to-toe battle between the two giants regardless.
There were even disclosures of some battles that had been previously fought between the two. The two enemies had come to blows many times, but this time, they would fight it out under the spotlights of the world in the Mountains of Taihang.
The two would fight each to the death once the fruit was borne and ripened.
"Will Fire Spirit come? What about White Tiger? If these two were to join the battle, we will witness an all-out war between all four from the summit of the pyramid! How spectacular would that be! Oh god! I've never gotten so expectant in my humble life!"
"I do also wish that the other two would join the fight too. Whether any of them might die or not, we will at least see who is and who is not worthy of his title!"
"I will let the idea pass though. What chance would be left with us to snatch the fruit if all four decides to show up? Even if all of us mutants unite and make a concerted effort, we still won't stand a chance against them."
The forum was bustling with heated debates. It drew attention from millions of people around the globe who would then place their bets and offer their own perspectives on the issue.
The practice soon prompted many gambling companies to timely launch their own services for the public. Users could choose to place their bet on Silver Wing, Kong Kim, Fire Spirits or White Tiger. At the same time, the gambling companies were also promoting a so-called "Chart of the Top-Hundred" to prompt many to make a bet as well.
Clearly, the gambling companies had seized the chance to seek their private gains. Their practice of speculation had surely caused a great stir in the public, but the forthcoming battle had strong repercussions in the society, thus millions were given to the fads and made the bet.
A stone had aroused a thousand waves!
The night had been truly a harvesting one for the top executives of these gambling companies. Their faces grew numb because of the joyous smile on their faces.
In the end, people noticed that Silver Wing had been particularly favored by the majority of people. His popularity was holding a safe lead over all the others. People seemed to have reached a consensus that Silver Wing was the strongest amongst all!
Later on, someone carried out an investigation before concluding that the reason for Silver Wing's unparalleled popularity was all thanks to a leaked footage that had apparently garnered him the fame that was known to millions of households worldwide.
In the footage, Silver Wing's actions were quick and clean, sweeping his enemies as easily as breaking up dead wood. He had a perfect countenance and displayed a graceful carriage. The wings fluttering on his back rendered him almost a celestial being standing out above an ordinary human crowd.
In the eyes of many youthful women, Silver Wing was an extremely handsome youth. Their first impression of him was rather good, which then quickly escalated to a whole-hearted adoration of the mutated man. Their inclination towards him made them think that he was their hero, and naturally, he must have been the strongest from the crowd.
One had to admit, however, this movement conducted by the gambling companies was a rather successful one. So much fortune was brought to them that it prompted many other companies to follow the trend.
The internet suddenly gave rise to a lively debate. There were discussions of all sorts as well as information regarding all facets. People's attention was frequently caught when news was updated.
"There's gotta be some sort of relationship between Silver Wing and that youthful woman whose silhouette was captured just then. What do you guys think?"
"There must be one! They were both working at Deity. How can there not be any relationships between the two? Oh! I see what you meant. You're right. The two do make a well-matched couple."
"She is a fine lady alright. Even though it was only a vague view of her side, one did not need the extra acumen to picture the whole front of her face. She must have the look of a goddess, and Silver Wing does qualify as our god. What a match indeed!"
Nobody had ever anticipated that such a heated debate could be prompted sheerly by a picture of a lady's side. The relationship between the lady and Silver Wing suddenly became a trending subject of conversation on the internet.
This made many mainstream media at a loss. They hastily started carrying out investigation of the story, hoping to dig further and closer to the truth.
The night had been destined to be deprived of calm and tranquillity. There were thousands of subjects on which people were eager to publicize their opinions. The most heated subject of all was bound to be that very fruit on the verge of its ripening.
Tomorrow would be the start of the picking season for the ravenous crowd. The windstorm was right in the horizon, and the mountains were bound to be battered by the tempest and the storm.
"What a long night this is!"
Thousands were waiting and expecting for dawn to befall. No matter whether one was a mutant or just an ordinary person who was clearly not qualified to join the plucking competition, people were still high in their spirit and their mood. Everyone was expecting the dawn to break and the morning to come.
The Mountains of Taihang had attracted worldwide attention.
Chu Feng had gathered enough information online, so he put aside the communicator.
The night finally concluded at the break of dawn as the bright sun gradually rose above the horizon.
Even though Chu Feng was on the mission to contest for the special fruit, his morning routine was left undisturbed. He settled his throbbing heart and his active mind, getting down to practice his breathing exercise.
He felt as if he were in a burning furnace. A glorious luster emerged over the layer of his skin. The golden fumes had the appearance both of a flame and of a spindrift, springing up vigorously, leaving any beholders of the scene astonished.
Soon later, the exercise was finished. The time he spent on it was not very long at all.
A thunderous rumble suddenly resounded within his chest. It pounded his back and trembled his entrails. Lightings accompanied by claps of thunder flowed through his body, cleansing all parts of his soul. The effect was both vigorous and effective.
There was a short moment of pain, but the comfort and the contentment that came after the agony was unparalleled and unspeakable.
The "thunderous" breathing rhythm was a technique that was damaging to say the least; however, it was the most effective technique at the same time.
"Alright! Let's go!" Chu Feng said to Yellow Ox.
Suddenly, he pricked up his ears. Chu Feng heard something uncanny heading towards him. It was the sound of a convoy of speeding cars; they travelled fast, and they travelled in great number as well.
It was still early in the morning, so it was not natural for such a sizeable convoy of cars to proceed at identical speed towards his house?
Chu Feng grew suspicious. He handed over a bag of the tyrannosaur's meat to Yellow Ox. The meat was for the road. It was intended to be eaten on their way to the depths of the mountains; however, Chu Feng instructed Yellow Ox to bring it back into the room and go into hiding.
Sure enough, as Chu Feng had anticipated, the cars all stopped by his house.
Chu Feng moved swiftly, putting away the bows and the arrows along with the beast skins.
The door was then knocked, and through the wooden door, Chu Feng could perceive the presence of many people, but they did not come as a noisy crowd. Except for the gentle sound of breathing, nothing much was heard.
Chu Feng opened the door, and immediately, he was greeted with the sight of a sizeable convoy. There were at least a dozen cars stopping by, setting up a perfect blockade on the road that ran right outside of his house.
There was a quite sizeable crowd as well. They all stood in a stationary stance, looking sharply at Chu Feng. Many were guarding in front of a limousine that looked rather heavy. One could easily tell that it was a bullet-proof car with a body gleaming with a pretentious luster.
Someone opened the door, and there existed a man who was then accompanied by a woman. Both had an extraordinary temperament, which posed as a clear sign that neither of the two was an ordinary person by any means.
The man looked in his mid-thirties. He wore a snow-white shirt, which made him look rather erudite and refined. His countenance looked fine but pale, but it was handsome, alright. There was an air of calm and great composure in his movements that divulged a great deal about his background and his education.
The woman by his side looked in her mid-twenties. She had a pair of slanting eyes. That pair of rosy lips of hers said nothing but pure sexiness. Although she was not as good-looking as Lin Naoi, she was undeniably a charming woman nevertheless. She was enchanting as well.
Chu Feng's blood ran cold when he saw the woman. He made a bold guess about her identity, because she looked very much alike to another person he knew.
Wan Qing's sister! This was Chu Feng's guess.
Then, the man's identity became clear as well. He should be Lin Naoi's uncle, Lin Yeyu. Chu Feng had learned that he was about to marry Wan Qing's sister.
There was a cluster of mutants surrounding the couple as they walked on. The mutants acted as guards who were always keeping close to their masters, keeping them utterly safe within their protective ring of encirclement.
Lin Yeyu was walking towards Chu Feng, sizing Chu Feng up as he walked. He looked calm and composed, and he said nothing either.
Wan Qing's sister had her arms wrapped around her fiancé's waist. She walked immediately by his side. There was also a look of curiosity in her eyes as she looked him up and down.
The mutants were muted, but their eyes were all on Chu Feng. Somebody had an examining look, while others looked all hostile and aggressive. There were, on the other hand, a minority of them looking plain and utterly indifferent to Chu Feng's presence.
Beyond everyone's expectations, Chu Feng immediately shut the door, as if he had been shied away by the massive crowd.
No-one, however, had expected Chu Feng to respond to their presence in this somewhat comical fashion.
Lin Yeyu was seized with surprise, then a smile emerged on his face, "He's got some attitude, doesn't he?"
A mutant came forward and started knocking at the door with all the force he could exert.
Chu Feng, however, paid no heed to the knocking. He sat down on a rocking chair in the yard. He was purposefully throwing a tantrum at the impoliteness of the crowd who was still standing in muteness on the other side of the door. "If these guys chose not to utter a word but to only rudely examine me without any form of greeting, I will not utter a word to you either." Chu Feng thought to himself, "I don't care who you are. You have just been denied entrance because of your rudeness!"
"Open the door!"
"Hurry up! Open the door! We've got business to talk about!"
A man shouted as the knocking continued.
Meanwhile, Chu Feng made himself an aromatic cup of tea. Seeing how the men outside the door were still exercising self-control as opposed to barging into his house, Chu Feng finally responded, "Speak!" His response was short but to the point.
"Please open the door for us, Mr. Chu. May I have your advice on a problem? We will see ourselves departing from your place immediately afterwards." This timid female voice was obviously the words of that woman.
Upon her request, Chu Feng opened the door.
"Not bad! In face of such a crowd, you are still dealing with surprising equanimity and courage," said the man in white shirt.
"Please sit." Chu Feng signalled for the man to sit. Chu Feng stayed neither haughty nor humble. He did not ask anything before the other party had said anything.
"Is my sister killed by your man?" Wan Qing's sister was direct and straightforward, so she asked.
"I'm clueless to what you asked." Chu Feng replied.
There was a strange look of creeping on the woman's face as her eyes started exuding a rather wondrous luster. The luster was peculiar and magical. It seemed as if it had contained some kind of uncanny forces.
"My sister is Wan Qing," the woman said.
"Oh…" Chu Feng dragged out his voice, then greeted the woman with a look of astonishment. "Was she dead? Well, I'm sorry but I won't lament for her death, if I were to speak my mind frankly. She is an utterly awful person in my eyes. An as*hole to say the least."
The woman's eyes turned cold, but the frosty look soon disappeared. "Was her death unrelated to you?" she asked again.
"Unrelated," Chu Feng calmly replied.
In fact, he could feel something stirring up a surge of emotion deep in his heart. There was something rather magical deep inside him that was driving his mental state to fluctuate. It was an overpowering force that was prompting him to involuntarily start pouring out the truths that had been buried deep in his heart.
However, he overcame the force and restrained the urge to divulge the truth. His facial expression sold nothing out either. His reply was stiff and incoherent, but it sounded like he was speaking his mind frankly.
The woman was disappointed. The peculiar luster in her eyes dissipated. She spoke no more, however, it was evident that she had no good opinion of Chu Feng, so when she looked at Chu Feng again, the smile had already given way to a rather cold expression.
"Not bad, not bad." Lin Yeyu patted Chu Feng on the shoulder. He was still wearing a mild smile, but it was nothing visceral. He then turned around and headed outside.
Wan Qing's sister followed him out. The mutants immediately dispersed into a regular formation, keeping the two protected in the middle.
Lin Yeyu looked over his shoulder and cast a final glimpse of Chu Feng before he entered his car. A smile showed on his face, revealing a mouthful of snow-white teeth. The teeth and the smile were resplendent under the light of the morning glow, but it also seemed to have been a show of his strong position. "Although I must admit that you're not bad at all, I still advise you to stay away from Lin Naoi. But, you know, it's just my advice."
"Save your words for your niece, big boy! There's nothing I can do about it," Chu Feng answered.
"I think it's for the better if you could quietly withdraw yourself from this place. You two are no match, and I hope you do realize that. Ahead of you in the queue, there is Mu, and there is Silver Wing. Know your boundaries, son!" Lin Yeyu warned, then he got into his car.
The convoy then left the scene, with cars speeding away one after another according to the order of precedence.
"Yellow Ox! Let's go! Time for the hunt!" Chu Feng clamored. He carried the "Thunderous" in his arm, then equipped the great bow with the tooth arrows.
"Moo!" Yellow Ox dashed out from its hiding.