"Wear this!" Chu Feng laid down a robe made of the beast's skin. The workmanship of the robe was not the excellent kind, because it was simply a combination of a few patches of wasted clothes pieced together to form a larger patch.
Yellow Ox's fur shone with a golden luster. It was also smooth as a satin of silk. The bold luster of its skin stood out like a sore thumb when positioned against the backdrop of the dull and monotonic forest.
If the calf were to be allowed to swagger into the forest with this eye-catching appearance, everyone who saw it would take it as a mutated beast. It would be endless troubles for the pair to deal with.
Yellow Ox was reluctant to be put into this new clothes, mainly because the skin was way too thick for its liking. It would serve as a good cover-up of its distinguishable features alright, but the clothes had hardly left any portions of the calf's skin exposED to the light or the air except for its tiny pair of eyes. The calf's little nose was given enough room to breathe the air, but it made the nose look like a black pea, a sight that clearly did not live up to the Yellow Ox's name.
"Moo!" Yellow Ox seemed offended.
"Nope! There is no room for negotiation!" Chu Feng maintained a firm attitude.
Having cladded itself in the new clothes, Yellow Ox stood upright on its hind hooves. The calf looked like a Frankenstein monster, but considering the abundance of mutants who were roaming in the mountains, a bizarre appearance like this was something perfectly with the ordinary bound.
Chu Feng, however, was not happy about the bulging look above the calf's head. The horns that were being buried under the hood seemed rather awkward. In the end, Chu Feng jabbed a pair of holes on the clothes to allow the horns to breathe the air as well.
"There were mutants with horns too, right? Okay! So, from now on, you have become the masked knight-errant of mine!" Chu Feng laughed.
Then, Chu Feng helped the calf get into a pair of boots made of beast skin as well. Even the front hooves were made sure to be covered. The calf was granted with a pair of golden gloves, and now, the calf was finally "armed to the teeth".
Yellow Ox sluggishly showed itself in front of a mirror. It looked itself up and down, and left to right, before it started throwing a tantrum. What was this? What a shame to bear if it had to wear this all day!
"Don't be so picky, calf. I've gotten myself the same ragged clothes just so that we can come in a match. I'm not complaining, am I? Just be content with your lot, Yellow Ox!"
Chu Feng found himself a helmet that was specially made. It covered his face and his head, exposing only his nose and his eyes. There were also a pair of extruding horns that looked silver on the top of the helmet.
"From now on, I will call you Demon Ox, and I, the greatest and the kindest of all, am now named: 'Angel Ox'," Chu Feng said as he padded on the calf's shoulder.
Yellow Ox looked at him, up and down, then to Chu Feng's surprise, the calf nodded in admiration. It then wrote on the ground, "You look more handsome than ever!"
"Get lost! You blind bastard!" Chu Feng angrily rebuked.
"Let's go!" Chu Feng beckoned to Yellow Ox to follow him. Bathing in the morning glow of the rosy dawn, the two walked with big strides towards the Mountains of Taihang.
"Wait… where is our braised tyrannosaur meat?" Chu Feng turned around and curiously asked.
Yellow Ox stood upright, then started stroking its own belly. This was the calf's gesture to console Chu Feng that the meat had not been lost, but rather they had all been eaten by it.
"You goddamn cow. Did you eat my portion of it as well when you were in the hiding?"
"Moo!" Yellow Ox pointed to its tummy, looking as if having eaten the food that was prepared for two people had not satisfied the insatiable greed of the calf.
"You Demon Ox!"
The emerging sun finally showed all its splendor. Fog and miasma still enshrouded the forest, but all the vapors had been glowed red in the rising sun.
Although it was still early, the mountains seemed to have already awaken from its cold and quiet night. There were shadows of mutants that came and went, sneaking stealthily in the jungle. Some came alone, while others assembled in large numbers, gathering in groups.
In the woods, on the cliff, and below at the canyon, the silhouettes of mutants could be seen everywhere.
The news that the fruit was on the verge of ripening had become known to many. Crowds of mutants overflowed the passageway that led into the mountains, with each harboring selfish motives and profound expectations.
Fight was inevitable!
Chu Feng witnessed a few murder cases on his way into the depths of the mountain. There were mutants fighting at close quarters, constantly giving out sounds of battle. The fight only ended when one party finally died and had their lifeless body buried under the thick growth of grass.
This was only the beginning!
It only took someone to have a brush with another to initiate a bloody conflict that would then end with one's brutal death, so it was conceivable how bloody and unsettling today would prove to be. When the fruit finally came to fruition, the fight would undoubtedly intensify.
At the foot of the Mountain of White Snake.
Mutants had crowded this place. Some were seen sitting on the mountain's peak; and some were standing at the mountain's entrance. There were others who had wings gliding in mid-air.
The crowd naturally became clamorous when the size of the crowd increased. Serenity no longer belonged to the area, but instead, the rowdy crowd had turned the once tranquil mountain to a rackety marketplace.
People, however, could sense the murderous vibe with which the air had been permeated. Once the fight broke out, every mutant who looked fine and friendly now would instantly turn into a monstrous enemy.
Therefore, as people conversed with each other in a seemingly friendly gesture, no-one had dropped their vigilance for even a fraction of a second.
Yellow Ox and Chu Feng also arrived at the foot of the Mountain of White Snake. They originally planned to arrive in a stealthily manner, but soon they realized stealth was not needed at all. The place had been hemmed in with crowds of mutants.
"What are you two sneaky little bastards doing here? Why did you put that tattered bag over your head?"
The two were being picked at as soon as they arrived. They were being scolded at. Obviously, there would always be someone who could never be nice to others, a person who would always try to prevail over his opponents from the very first encounter.
The man who made his remark had a somewhat fierce and horrid look. There was a row of spurs protruding from his back, and there was also a fine layer of blue scales sprawling across his skin. He had a wide mouth and, within which, an array of buckteeth hideously sat.
"It's none of your business! What's your problem?"
No sooner had Chu Feng finished his sentence when more than another five mutants joined the argument. Clearly, the man who made the scolding remark was the man in lead of this lot. Clearly, as a group, they wanted to establish some power and influence over the others so that more people could gather around them.
There had been others following the same practice earlier. Normally, a mutant with strength that was out of the ordinary could make other mutants bow to them by brandishing his power and skills. In doing so, a team of formidable players could gather together and form a force to be recognized.
"Huh! What high-flown sentiments! But how dare you speak to me in that unyielding tone? I will peel that hideous skin off you and make you bow to me. You are just an eyesore to me!" The man in lead sneered at Chu Feng. Then, following a deafening boom, that fist of his was suddenly wrapped in scales as well. He was fast like lightning, striking his fist fiercely at Chu Feng's temple.
This man was wicked at heart to say the least. There had not been more than a few words spoken before he decided to launch a swift and fierce attack at a stranger. If one were to be struck by the man at their temples, he would be either a dead man or, at least, come to within an inch of his life.
Chu Feng's eyes turned cold. He kicked his feet high up in the air, greeting the flinging fist of the man. A crispy sound of cracking immediately sounded. The man's fingers had been crushed and snapped.
Then, Chu Feng delivered another kick at the man's chest. The force that was driven with the kick sent the man flying like a lobbed shell. He flew into that crowd of henchmen whom he led and crushed them underneath his formidable body.
It only took a pair of kicks to establish his prestige amongst the crowd. That mutant spat a mouthful of blood. His body was violently twitching as well before he finally gave in and fainted. The other mutants who came with him all looked terrified and pale-faced.
They now knew that they had run into troubles. After hurriedly climbing out from underneath the body of their leader, they hastily retreated from the scene.
"What a fierce fighter you are, brother! Let's partner up and go together. What do you think?"
Sure enough, after the two kicks, Chu Feng had built up his prestige among the mass. A large crowd of mutants quickly gathered around him, recognizing Chu Feng as a force on which they could rely.
"I'm sorry, but I'm not interested," Chu Feng said.
In his perspective, the group that was only formed at the last second before the fight broke out and having himself surrounded by large crowds of mutants might seem like a tactic superior to going alone, but this crowd was nothing but a rabble of disorderly mobs. They would serve no real purposes when the need for them was called.
"How arrogant!" there were mumbles of complaints in the crowd.
Chu Feng darted his eyes over the crowd, and the sound of complaints died down immediately. People seemed to fear him very much. No-one dared to provoke a fierce and warlike mutant like him.
"Brother! I will be your pious follower 'till the end of my humble life!"
There were a few from the crowd chose not to heed his rejection. They insisted to be guided under his lead.
"Like I said, I'm not interested in forming groups with you guys," Chu Feng once again stated his rejection.
However, he had clearly underestimated the determination of the crowd. His prowess and his willingness to go alone gave many people the impression that he was a true master of martial arts. There were a crowd of people refusing to leave regardless of the rejection.
Chu Feng was speechless. "Do as they please," he thought to himself as he walked straight ahead.
The group of followers was conscientiously forming a sizeable formation around their newly entitled master. Some chose to clear the way for Chu Feng at the front, while others formed a protective encirclement around him. Chu Feng had suddenly become a leader of a crowd of pious followers.
The more rejecting Chu Feng was, the more highly the crowd thought of him. The group gradually grew in size before eventually, Chu Feng found himself encircled within a group of dozens of mutants.
This group of mutants all had the same funny idea. They intended to make themselves seem like some negligible sidekicks of a much stronger force so that when the fight broke out and when the situation became complicated, it would become easier for them to fish in troubled waters. In case they were fortunate to get close enough to the fruit itself, there would be no reason for them not to just snatch the fruit and forcibly shove it under their throat. Once they had mutated and became a master like Kong Kim and Silver Wing, whom were they going to fear? It was said that even the most potent firearms could not deal with them!
"F*ck! Deity is always able to stick their nose into everything they can, don't they? They've got their troops here months earlier, and now they want all who want to go deep into the mountains to enter in a queue, otherwise, they will raise their fist at you!"
Discontented with Deity's monopolizing practice, someone from the crowd muttered curses.
"What is this? Here are at least thousands of us here, so what are we fearing for?" there were a few people with ulterior motives trying to stir up a riot in the crowd.
"Look! What's that?" someone pointed into the distance. "They already have high-caliber firearms ready on the mountains!"
The crowd all turned to the direction where the man pointed, then all changed their countenance.
"I don't believe they will really do anything to us right now. Let's go!" someone said.
There was a considerable number of people in the crowd who were firm believers of huge-crowd strategy. They did not believe that Deity could withstand a united force of resurgence of tens of thousands of mutants all at once regardless of how powerful their machine guns were. They believed that Deity dared not to fire a bullet at the crowd, at least at this stage; otherwise, they would just turn themselves into the enemy of the crowd.
In fact, the top executives from Deity had already been feeling the headache. Ever since the information was leaked to the public, everything had strayed off course.
They tried to keep order and ensure their winning of the fruit at the same time. It had been a real struggle for the company.
The road that led into the depths of the Mountain of White Snake was still guarded by some orderlies from Deity.
Chu Feng was standing in queue as well. He saw no need in clambering up a cliff to avoid the checkpoint, at least not in this stage. Blending in the crowd to make himself seem ordinary was the best choice to make.
"Get out of the way!"
Meanwhile, a commotion started stirring up at the back of the queue. There was a batch of people who seemed rather domineering and overbearing, pushing aside the people in front of them.
Chu Feng was also being hustled around by the crowd.
He saw the clamoring crowd who were vowing to be his pious followers all running away. Sure enough, they were just a rabble of disorderly mobs who were utterly unreliable when the time came.
"Don't you think you're being too obnoxious?" Chu Feng turned around.
"F*ck off, you mug!" This jostling crowd took an abominable attitude as well. They were rude and unreasonable. Noticing that Chu Feng was refusing to move aside for them, their jostling demeanor immediately escalated to fists and kicks.
Chu Feng was exasperated. He had been picked at in his own house this morning, and now he was being blatantly bullied by a batch of mobs. His composure was finally lost to his anger.
"You f*ckers should be the ones to get the f*ck off!"
At the very next second, Chu Feng had made a sizeable crowd of people spewing blood from their mouths and noses. Some suddenly found themselves flying upside down in the air with multiple bones fractured or pulverized.
"You're courting death, son!"
The leader of this crowd was a two-meter giant. He had a bald head and a forehead shiny like a morning sun.
In the very next moment, the giant gained a cragged rocky body. His torso had been raised to a height of over seven meters. His strength was formidable as well. It only took him a stamp to crack the earth underfoot. Having metamorphosed into this beasty-looking creature, the giant started ramming towards Chu Feng.
There were a few people who was not quick enough to withdraw themselves from the giant's rampaging path. They were crushed under the soles of the feet of the giant. Under the crushing weight of a rocky giant, their bodies were immediately turned into a heinous mixture of blood and exposed entrails. They died a horrid death almost instantly.
The macabre scene was both appalling and revolting, but Chu Feng was now made realized how different the upheavals had made the humans become. Many became an utterly different person after their wild nature was unleashed. There were many who might not have been cruel by nature now turning into nothing but cold-blooded beasts.
Chu Feng showed no mercy either. He made sure every punch he delivered was a deadly blow to his enemy.
Boom! Boom! Boom!
As the crowd watched in utter astonishment, Chu Feng struck each of his blow onto the giant's body, swiftly and precisely. At last, the cragged body of this formidable giant disintegrated. With a blood-curdling scream, the giant tumbled and was dead on the spot.
His group of henchmen immediately dispersed in a hubbub.
Having shot dead the giant, Chu Feng turned his back to the bloody scene without pausing and joined the queue once again as if nothing had ever happened. This stirred up quite a sensation in the crowd. Everyone seemed to have been quaking with terror in sight of that quick yet gory fight.
The ones who fled away from Chu Feng's lead were now repenting their decisions, but it was too shameful to ask for forgiveness now.
"Brother, what's your name? Let's get acquainted with each other," someone yelled at the back. They were not weak themselves, but they did think very highly of this man who had just crushed a giant.
"My name is… 'Angel Ox'!" Chu Feng was direct and straightforward.
The peculiar yet somewhat comical name made the crowd stare speechless at each other. Then, the silver horns on Chu Feng's head caught their eyes. Well, it made it all the more reasonable now.
However, Chu Feng did not pause there. He pointed to the upright-standing, leather-coat-cladded Yellow Ox who only had its eyes and its pair of golden horns left out for others' sight-viewing, and said, "This is my brother, Demon Ox!"
The crowd was now even more speechless than before. Angel Ox and Demon Ox. How sweet the names were!
"They looked more like King of Golden Horn and King of Silver Horn in my opinion. Remember those two characters from that web novel?" someone murmured in the crowd. People's eyes could not move away from the protruding horns "growing" on the pair's head.
There were mutants of all kinds of looks after their mutation, so growing horns was nothing out of the ordinary.
Chu Feng turned his back on the crowd, paying no attention to the mumbles in the crowd.
Words about the fight were quickly spreading in the crowd from the head of the queue to the back. The name "Angel Ox" was not said when people related the story, but the name "King of Silver Horns" soon became a household name.
In the depth of the Mountains of White Snake, the crowd stayed relatively muted despite the number of people present. Everyone had sealed their lips, standing silently on their feet.
Obviously, anyone who had dared to put themselves here and still stayed alive thus far were all a force to be recognized.
Chu Feng picked a hill and clambered to its top; it was a good observing point. From there, Chu Feng could see that very tree in the distance.
In fact, all the hilltops nearby had been occupied by keen observers.
"The fruit is not ripe yet. It seems like there is another few hours for us to wait through," Chu Feng said. His eyesight was sharp and accurate. He could clearly see a hint of green on the pine cone that was yet to turn purple.
There was a clear mountain spring on the hilltop. Chu Feng scooped a handful of water and sipped a mouthful of it. It tasted rather sweet and delicious. He then went hunting for some games. Since his breakfast had been eaten all by Yellow Ox, he intended to roast some meat while waiting.
Suddenly, he saw Lin Yeyu and that woman on his side. The two had also come to the depth of the Mountain of White Snake. They darted a few looks in Chu Feng's direction.
Then, a mutant clambered up to the hilltop, politely asking Chu Feng to leave the hilltop at once. He said that this place had been chosen by someone from Deity.
"Get lost at once!" Chu Feng shot a disapproving look at the man, replying with only four words.