Both elders were shouting out orders. Silver rays of radiance emitted from their mouth and nostrils, which then turned into ripples of silver luminescence, spreading across the canyons and the jungles. Their voice was deafening, like rolling thunders, echoing between the precipitous cliffs between the towering mountains.
They darted downhills, rushing towards each respective camp.
Having received the order from the elders, leaders of each respective camp hastily committed into appropriate actions. They rallied up all their forces, poised for the ultimate fight.
The air in the mountains felt hot and oppressive, and the stuffy air almost felt suffocating. The crowd felt as if their chests were subject to some mysterious force firmly pressing down.
There were no dark clouds overlooking in the sky, but people still found it difficult to breathe. There was as if a boulder had been placed on their chest, suffocating them and making their chest tight.
Silence prevailed the space between the mountains. It was like the peace before the storm. The smothering oppression was waiting to be shattered, to be fiercely torn apart by some beasts of primitive traits.
The region had indeed suddenly become abnormal. There were no rustlings of leaves or grasses. In fact, not a breeze of air was in motion. The utter peace and silence made the crowd quake with terror.
The two elders stood on top of two different mountains. The looks on their faces were both solemn and worrying. They were waiting for the homecomings of their dearest ones whom they had sent out into the mountains before.
On the verge of the Mountains of White Snake, even the chirpy birds were frightened. Their hearts were all entangled with an unspeakable type of terror; even their souls palpitated with fear.
One team of troops after another started moving, evacuating to the region outside of the mountains.
"Be careful and keep up your guards, soldiers!" someone reminded.
Suddenly, the expressions on the faces of the two elders shifted all at once. They sensed the danger that was so great that the hair on the back of their necks were made standing on their ends.
Soon later, the mutants below also perceived the danger with their superhuman instincts. They felt as if they had been watched by some primitive beasts. The gaze of this hidden beast gave them the creeps, making them tremble with fear. This crowd of mutants nervously looked around the space around them, wishing that it was only their imagination playing tricks on them.
"Oh… my God!"
Vaguely, someone from the crowd could just make out the shapes of moving creatures in the horizon.
"Beasts! Beasts are coming! They are all over hills and dales!"
Another mutant shrieked and squalled, crushing the peace and the oppressive silence all at once.
One beast after another, their silhouettes became increasingly clearer with each minute passing by. Silently, those moving monstrosities were slowly creeping forward, closing in on the crowd over here.
It was a terrifying sight to behold. The beasts came in batches of great number, but they walked all in eerie silence. They were in perfect order as well, systematically closing their encirclement as they marched on.
It was the silence of their walking which inspired that sense of oppression in the mind of many.
But they were beasts after all. How could their formation be so regular? How could their march be paced in such a unified fashion? All were of different species and sizes, but there were no conflicts between them. Clearly, all the beasts had only one goal in mind, and that was to hem in and kill every human mutant that had trodden into the territory here today.
The crowd watched in awe and fear as the mutated beasts marched on. Some could even smell the wind of blood and foresee the sight of carnage. One beast after another showed themselves from their hidings and joined the marching crowd.
From the canyons to the forest then to the top of the hills, the place had become thickly dotted with ferocious beasts. They were so great in number that one could hardly see the end of their formation.
At last, the beasts had fully come into sight. Their looks and shapes were now visible to the human eyes.
There were monkeys with golden furs, wild wolves with bronze skin, wild boars with the size of an armored car, pythons with the circumference of a giant pail…
Every one of them was a monster. They had long departed from the looks and the forms of the species to which they belonged, and now they came in as a unified force, launching their attack on human in batches.
Everyone now realized the severity of the situation. This might be the cause of their undoing today.
Pong! Pong! Pong!
Between the hills and the mountains, shots were firing in unison. The fire shooting out from within the muzzles of the guns shot up long tongues, pouring immense firepower at the incoming army of beasts. Sounds of explosion rose one after another.
Boom! Boom! Boom!
The canons started firing as well. With each shell that left the barrel, down went acres of trees on the mountains in the distance. Layers of earth were almost being peeled off from the crust to which they originally belonged.
However, these mutated beasts all seemed to have a discerning mind. They started taking cover long before the guns started firing. Some chose to hide in the low-lying area, while others taking covers behind sizeable boulders. They were all vigilant and alerted.
Their movements were swift and speedy as well. Every beast seemed to have possessed intelligence. They were calm and composed as the guns were fired. The loud sound of canon shells exploding boulders and mountains did not turn the marching crowd into a complete chaos.
Suddenly, there came the shrieking cries of a tortured man. He had dropped his weapon since his arm had been bitten off wholly from his body. There was a silver giant rat beside him with a body that was at least three feet long. Its mouth was peppered with cutting teeth, but all had been stained with blood, adding a more ferocious look to this monstrosity of a rat.
The rat crept out from a hole in the ground. The speed at which it scurried on earth struck terror into the people's heart. Within only a few seconds, the arms of a few other men had been torn off from their bodies.
The giant rat had a body of silver fur. It nimbly rushed in and out of the crowd with a devastating force. More and more people were getting hurt by it.
Some mutant tried to squash the rat with their hand. They lapped their hand on the rat but soon realized how firm and tenacious the rat's body was. The rodent shook its body, diverging the force that had been struck upon it.
At the very moment when the rat suddenly turned its head over its shoulder, it ripped off the palm of that mutant, leaving that very mutant with only a skinless back of his hand.
"Snake! So many venomous snakes!"
Suddenly, people from another area started shouting in despair. Amidst the tall grasses, there were snakes wriggling along in a wriggly manner. It was not just one or two of them; it was thousands or even millions of snakes, dashing over to the crowd in a frenzied manner.
People cried and shrieked in terror. The scene was indeed one that would instil great deal of fear in people.
Machine guns sprayed arrays of bullets at the snakes, turning many into a gory mixture of blood and flesh.
However, there seemed to be more snakes than bullets. More and more were wriggling their way out from beneath the earth in inexhaustible number.
Puff! Puff! Puff!
Suddenly, there came a few mutated snakes who could traverse through space like lightning at a stormy night. They nimbly maneuvered their bodies around the panicking crowd with a terrifying ability to strike anyone who was in its way dead.
Amongst these newcomers, there was a silver snake of the length of a chopstick. It flew through the crowd like a deadly bullet, puncturing the frontal bones of everyone in its vicinity, killing them with only a single strike.
In the twinkling of an eye, more than a dozen of people were cold-bloodedly murdered. Half of them were mutants.
The other few mutated snakes were no less powerful than the chopstick-sized one. They hovered through the air like as if they had mastered the ability to glide along the breezing wind. Whoever had the misfortune to be "kissed" by the snakes—poisonous bites—were dead at once with a dark reddish purple face.
Thousands of snakes wreaked havoc in the mountains. The cold-blooded carnage that was happening made the beholders of the scene tremble with fear and goosebumps all over.
The beasts from the distance had come nearer. Firepower directed against them had reduced significantly since the chaos wrought by the pesky snakes started. Taking advantage of this window opened for them, the beasts started pouncing themselves upon the humans once again.
"Don't run! Hold your position! Fire! Fire!" someone shouted.
Both people from Deity and Bodhi was flustered. Even those who were equipped with the most advanced weapons started feeling enshrouded by unspeakable terror, beginning to flee for their lives.
Boom! Boom! Boom!
The canon barrel shot out long tongues of fire; the shots were continuous and rapid. They did prove to be effective at first, killing some beasts and injuring many. A few could not even be found with a full body after being bombarded by the fierce firepower of those shells and canon firing.
However, the firepower soon dwindled and weakened because all kinds of poisonous snakes had begun to flank the firing squad, killing many while scaring the rest away. There were also a few particularly cunning beasts amongst the crowd who had learnt to crawl forward, hiding themselves from people's line of sight before suddenly showing themselves in front of the defenders, killing members of the firing squad with surprise.
There was a golden monkey whose size was only that of an ordinary ape, but it possessed immense power and a cruel nature. Puff! The monkey tore apart a human while he was still alive.
"Aww…" that was the roar of a bronze wolf. The wolf was fierce and savage. It feared not the firing of bullets. It braced on amidst the intense firepower that humans had relied solely for defense, closing the gap between it and its targets. That body of its was made entirely of bronze, and this allowed the beast to be virtually a tank. It pounced forward, then when it finally reached the nearest line of humans, it began to thoroughly show its true barbaric nature. With its cutting claws, the wolf lacerated a mutant into half with only a slice of its claw.
People cried in panic, and terror soon spread throughout the crowd.
The troops on the verge of the Mountains of White Snake could no longer stand of the sight of the carnage. No-one had ever experienced anything like this before. It was sanguine, so cruel, and so blood-curdling to watch. Many people had lost their sanity, becoming a madman who could no longer even make sense of his own existence.
There was also a wolf that looked as if it had been carved out of stone. Whomever it passed by would be instantly turned into a stone-like sculpture just like itself. The wolf had an unusual power to petrify all those who were near it.
The troops who were on the outside was assigned here to give cover to the retreating forces from inside, but right now, seeing how this encirclement of beasts started closing in from all around, they started to retreat to the inside themselves.
Terror spread fast. Seeing how so many soldiers were fleeing from the scene of the action, the others could no longer stand to defend either. The line of defense that had been formed on the verge of the mountains started to crumble onto itself, even when their leaders were scolding loudly, ordering them to hold their position.
"Fire! Fire at them! Kill them all!"
The elder from Deity roared. He had killed many beasts himself just then. His heart was pounding fiercely inside his chest due to the intensity of the battle, but he now started to realize how powerless and insignificant his power was in face of this crowd of mutated beasts.
It was imperative for him to retreat as well; but as he drew back to the inside, he ordered the attack helicopters to bring up the rear, bombarding those beasts to give cover to the ground forces.
Bodhi was met with no better situation. The elder was drenched in the blood of the beasts he had slain, but at last, he had to fell helter-skelter too.
Both two tycoons had abundant funds to fuel their battle machines. There were many choppers flying and firing homing missiles at the enemies below.
On the tip of a hill, there was a snake that had size of a giant pail standing upright within its slithering body stiffened. It suddenly reached forward then started swinging its ten-meter stiffened torso straight into a hovering chopper, snapping it in half. Then, with a deafening bang, the chopper listlessly plummeted to its demise.
The scene had struck fear into many people. They had to admit the sheer power that came with that blow the beast had delivered.
At the same time, there also sounded the roar of a giant bird.
People looked up, seeing a sizeable falcon hovering overhead. It was at least six meters in length. It flew like a lightning strike through the sky. It had caught up with another chopper.
Clonk! Without demur, the falcon tore apart a helicopter and strike it down straight from mid-air. The metal on that chopper was like a paper in the falcon's eyes.
In the close distance, another chopper was met with a surprise attack as well. The scene was utterly terrifying.
The attacker was a woodpecker. It was only an inch in length, but its body was gleaming with a blinding silver radiance. It pierced through the armor of the chopper then entered the cabin inside. Soon, people from down below could hear the blood-curdling screams that came from the inside.
The bird's beak was sodden in blood as it flew out of the chopper. Meanwhile, the chopper seemed to have lost all control, and with a boom, it crashed and exploded.
"This is it… This is the end of us… This is the end of humanity!"
Someone cried out. They were trembling, and their faces went deathly pale with fright.
At this moment, everyone seemed to have foreseen the future with their eyes. With beasts of various deadly ability striking back at humans in hoards, how could humans even stand a chance?
Right now, what they saw was perhaps only a rehearsal of what was going to happen to all humanity in a grander scale.
All the beasts seemed to have unleashed their intelligence as well as their barbarity to a full. They came in an organized formation, tactically attacking their enemies. The beast on the ground marched on, killing the soldiers on the ground, while the birds of prey soared in the sky, devastating the helicopters without even giving it a second thought.
The troops from both Deity and Bodhi had been utterly defeated, fleeing into the depths of the Mountains of White Snake.
Soon later, they ran into the troops who were retreating from the inside.
"Aren't we leaving this place now? What are you guys doing here?"
"We can't leave right now. We're surrounded by thousands of beasts, coming in hordes and crowds, defeating us left and right, out there."
"Everywhere is flooding with mutated beasts and birds. Every one of them was not only savage but cruel as well. We're no match for them!"
After a few exchanges of words, an air of utter terror soon began to spread across the crowd.
Everyone became flustered. Where should they go now? How would they escape? Would they make it out alive? Of what chance would they survive?
"Keep calm! Don't panic! The beasts out there are fewer than eight hundred. The rest was just normal beasts that were attracted here. We have more than a thousand mutants here, so there is of every probability that we would crush them with a united force."
The elder from Bodhi opened his mouth. He had a head of snow-white hair and a body stained with the beasts' blood. He stood there in an awe-inspiring stance, gazing at the crowd with eyes that said confidence. He had just killed a mutated leopard that measured almost six meters in length. He threw the body of the lifeless beast off his shoulders. The sheer weight of the beast trembled the earth as it was thrown to the earth.
Jiang Luoshen stood by his side, exchanging information regarding the situation outside with the elder in whispers, then she said, "Don't panic, everyone. We'll be totally fine. They are just some wild animals and nothing more. If we can form groups of four or five and each group manages to kill a single beast, we will clear away all of them with a breeze!"
The soothing words spoken by the "national goddess" were indeed effective. Those who were gasping in fear just seconds ago were now calm and composed. Seeing how calm a delicate woman was in a situation like this, they thought to themselves that there was no reason for them to be fearful and on edge.
On the other side of the mountains, Lin Naoi was also attentively listening to the words spoken by the hale and hearty elder.
Thousands of mutants gathered together, uniting as one to fight back for their lives on behalves of humanity. They were determined to live through this misery together, hands in hands, arms in arms.
Chu Feng was one of the witness of the carnage as well. He realized the severity of the situation right now. He knew for a fact that many people were going to lose their lives today. He knew that what was fearful about these beasts was not their size nor was their ability to strike with deadly force; it was their intelligence and their ability to learn and to apply.
Then, he turned his head to the grassland where the black yak and the yellow ox had been joyously getting along.
The black yak was still "lecturing" Yellow Ox.
Yellow Ox had intended to peel out every single pine seed from the pine for itself, but the idea was rejected by the black yak. The yak suggested to keep only ten seeds as opposed to embezzling the entire cone.
"Like I said, there is an ultimate beast behind the back of all these others. We might need to bring this cone to the 'king' of the beast and please it with our offering," the black yak suggested.
The yak supposed that the cone had been long reserved for this king of the beast, and the silver snake was the warder guarding it for the king it served.
However, the yak supposed that this hat "King of the Beast" was not too bothered by the fruit itself anyway; otherwise, it would have snatched the fruit for itself long before humans had even caught sight of its existence. Perhaps the king wanted to use the fruit as bait to allure and prompt humans to display their inventions and their behaviour pattern more thoroughly for the beasts to observe and study.
The black yak was quite calm and composed. It brought Yellow Ox with it, swaggering towards the dark bushes where the other greater beasts were hiding. The two walked in style and with confidence, striding on towards the dark bushes.
Chu Feng was struck speechless by the boasted confidence the two displayed as they walked in the proximity to an apparent danger. He wanted to tail the two at the back, but he soon paused his pace. He realized that as a human, he might be deemed as a common enemy of those beasts in the bushes and attacked by their collaborative force.
Yellow Ox was, at least, loyal to friends. It bellowed and groaned, telling the black yak that it had left a friend behind. The calf then entreated for permission to this friend of its along.
"You are hardly able to save yourself, let alone anyone else," the black yak looked askance at the calf.
"If you think you and him are both capable fighters in face of those beasts, I won't stop him if he wanted to tag along," the black yak then said.
The two, however, did not pause their pace waiting; instead, they continued to swagger about their goodness to anyone who was around them, watching.
Suddenly, the black yak paused by an arbitrary tree miles away from that hidden crowd of beasts and yelled, "Brothers! I'd like to appreciate my gratitude for your efforts!"
What was he doing? In the distance, Chu Feng was astounded by what he saw.
The black yak remained in its calmness, staggering along towards the bushes while trying to be friendly with the hidden strangers. "Despite our difference in appearance, we're all brothers from the same family. I know it's been a long day for many of you fighters who have been battling for the rise of us beasts, so please kindly accept my gratitude for all of your hard-works and sacrifice."
The crowd of mutated beasts gazed at the yak, all with a bewildered look in their eyes.
The beasts jogged their memory, but everyone was certain that they had never seen this black yak before. It did not seem like a beast indigenous to the mountains of Taihang.
However, they also noticed that this yak was not an ordinary kind, merely because it could speak human language.
The black yak carried itself with ease. It continued to speak in a deliberate manner, "All beasts in the world are brothers. There should not be any of us being estranged from the others simply because they were not born in the neighborhood," the black yak paused, glancing through the crowd. "Only until just now have I realized that my brothers here were having such a magnificent gathering in the region. I was standing on the mountain top, looking down in awe at such extraordinary bravery displayed all of my brothers. I revelled at the sight of seeing those humans scurrying off like a frightened rat. At that moment, do you know how proud I was to be a beast myself as well? How I wish I could have contributed something to the cause of your heroic fighting as well!"
Yellow Ox stood behind the yak, thinking to itself what a glib-tongued bastard this yak was! Clearly, the yak's intention was simple and pure, and that was to snatch the fruit for itself and nothing more; the rest of that long-winded, verbose compliments was just total gibberish alright.
Then, the black yak went on introducing itself, "I come from the mountains of Flame in the Great West. My name is Demon Ox."
In the distance stood Chu Feng in utter astonishment. "Could it be real that this yak he had seen at Kunlun Mountain, which was also in the west, the true Demon Ox whom he had always aspired to see in person?" Chu Feng thought to himself.
The yak's words stirred up quite a sensation in that crowd of beasts as well. The fact that the yak could speak pure human language alone was enough to strike fear into these beasts and birds. Many beasts from the crowd, despite their possession of unworldly power granted by mutation, were still too afraid to be impertinent before the black yak.
Even the most domineering beasts from the crowd had to pay high tribute to the yak by either nodding or lowering their heads to show their due respect.
The black yak walked with its head high, bathing in the respect the crowd had paid to it. After the yak was the calf, who in comparison, was not so confident in its striding paces; but with the greater yak leading the way, the calf still braced itself and entered that crowd of ferocious beasts. The two were about to escape from the encirclement of the beasts!
How did this work out so well? For Chu Feng, it was a jaw-dropping scene to behold. Would it be just this easy?
Suddenly, a silver snake of the size of a chopstick standing on a nearby rock with its body stiffened and its tongue sticking out. The snake seemed to have been telling the crowd something secret about this striding duo.
The crowd soon became increasingly disorderly. The looks in the eyes of many ferocious beasts had turned cold and savage. They gazed at the black yak, filling the air with murderous intent.
"Oy! I am Demon Ox! Don't give me any of your attitudes!" the black yap bellowed. The yak paused amidst the agitated crowd of beasts, casting a vigilant glance through the crowd.
The silver snake was the first one committing to actions. It thrust its venomous bite forth towards the blackened fur of the yak, triggering all the other mutated beasts at once. Although there was still a lingering fear inside them, the crowd started jointly attacking the yak nevertheless.