Yellow Ox was quite optimistic because the lump of dirt the calf found beneath the verdant pine tree was quite an exceptional find.
"Bring it out!" Chu Feng urged.
Yellow Ox brimmed with energy and vitality as the calf brought out that lump of dirt from within that dangling sack carried on its body. It carefully placed the dirt on a stone table in the yard; Chu Feng's attention was immediately drawn.
It was an exceptional lump of dirt alright!
The dirt was glamorous and crystalline. It did not look like an average lump of dirt, because it looked quite exquisite and ingeniously carved. Most importantly, it was the size of the fist of an adult man.
The pieces of dirt Chu Feng had collected earlier on was only the size of a fingernail. They were all dwarfed when placed next to this one. The difference was jarring.
When the lump of dirt was examined carefully, one could see that the fine jades inside the lump were densely packed together by some sort of natural glue. They all looked shiny and clear.
This lump of dirt had two forms of color. A hint of green was entangled with a larger patch of purplish golden hue. The two colors shined together to emit a sparkling and glistening luster. These colors perfectly matched that of the little pine tree and that of the pine cones.
"This looks so much better than those we found under those grasses!" Chu Feng sighed with praise.
Under the luminescence of the sun, there was a vivid reflection that came in the form of green and purple that was actively jumping up and down inside the glistening dirt. They looked just like columns of pulsating flame!
Chu Feng was astonished at first, but then the smile that appeared on his face grew bigger and bigger.
Yellow Ox also showed a silly grin.
Both of them were quite expectant. They had high hope that they could finally succeed this time.
"I wonder how those seeds are doing right now."
Chu Feng crouched by the parterre then carefully removed a layer of fine dirt that covered the seeds underneath. Last time, he had implanted a chunk of that strange dirt to nourish the seeds. Time flew and in the twinkling of an eye, days had passed by.
"There are some changes!"
Underneath the humid dirt, the seed that originally looked relatively plumper than the others first showed itself. It still had not sprouted, but it looked greener than last time. There was a clear sign of vitality and vigor associating with it now.
However, it would still have meant nothing so far as it had not taken roots.
Yellow Ox came closer to the parterre as well. The calf was carefully examining the seeds beside Chu Feng as well.
"This is the only seed that had undergone some changes so far," Chu Feng said.
At the time when Chu Feng first found these seeds, they were yellow and lack of luster. Furthermore, they were all wrinkled and creased too.
Months later, there were no longer creases to be found; instead, there was a hint of green starting to appear on the plumper seeds. The seeds had been endowed with some unspeakable but conceivable form of vitality by the nature.
The streaks and marks on the seeds still existed. They looked as complex as always, but against the backdrop of the greenish color of the seeds themselves, these streaks seemed to have been given a mysterious quality of lingering charm.
Chu Feng continued to dig, but he was only left to be disappointed. The other two seeds were still lifeless and lackluster. They looked dead as hell.
One of them was jet-black in color, and it looked all dried-up like a wizened old man. The other seed looked brownish in color and oval in shape as if it had been crushed under great force. These two looked just like this at the time when they were found, and now they still had not gained even the slightest change.
It seemed to have been proven to be quite a difficulty for these to take roots or sprout.
"Gather all the dirt we found today and supply the first seed with them." Chu Feng decided to devote his effort to one seed only.
Yellow Ox nodded as a form of agreement.
But what troubled them the most was that it was going to take a long while for the seeds to grow and develop.
And knowing that the White Snake was still lurking in the region made them feel fear.
Yellow Ox disappeared. It went looking for the black yak to ensure that this place was going to be alright for months to come. Neither Yellow Ox nor Chu Feng wanted anything hazardous to happen while the seeds developed.
Yellow Ox suddenly reappeared in the yard just like it disappeared seconds ago. The calf told Chu Feng that for now, nothing should pose as a threat to the wellbeing of these seeds.
Again, the kings of the beast should know each other the best.
"I wish it could grow faster!" Yellow Ox hoped.
The black yak had told the calf that it would start heading west towards the Mountains of Flame soon, and the yak also promised to bring the calf along with it, so this meant that the calf would soon leave the place as well.
"Is the yak for real!?" Chu Feng was struck dumb.
Yellow Ox shook its head. The calf had no clue either.
The so-called Mountains of Flame was a mountain range next to the mountains of Kunlun.
Yellow Ox had always wanted to visit the Mountains of Kunlun, so naturally, the calf would not let go of this opportunity where it could tag along with someone whom it could rely on.
"How is that little tree doing?" Chu Feng asked. He had always been deeply impressed with the tree that had taken roots at the peak of that bronze mountain.
"The yak hasn't given much detail so far. It only said that it would bring me there to visit in the future," Yellow Ox wrote.
Chu Feng shoved that plump and greenish seed into the lump of dirt the calf had collected from beneath the little pine tree. Then, he buried them in a wooden bucket.
That few snips of strange soil collected earlier did not go to waste either. Everything was mixed and stored in the same bucket as the seed, and of course, Chu Feng also added some fertile soil to harbor the seed as well.
If this place took a left turn somehow someday, he was ready to move out with this wooden bucket and his seed at any time any day.
Having watered the seed, the man and the calf both seated themselves next to the bucket. How they wished that the seed could just take roots and sprout right away.
Chu Feng was full of expectation and hope, and because he had pinned all his hope on the seed itself, Chu Feng had not hurried to ingest the pine nuts yet.
He believed that this seed would for sure bring him a pleasant surprise!
Yellow ox paced up and down across the yard; the calf was anxious and a little frustrated too. Every now and then, it would stop by the wooden bucket and observe what had been going on in there. The anxiety in the air was high, and this made Chu Feng even more worried and disturbed.
Suddenly, Chu Feng's communicator rang. It was his mother calling.
"Mom!" Chu Feng answered.
On the other end of the line came the anxious voice of his mother. "Are you still at Qingyang Village?" Chu Feng's mother tearfully asked.
The world outside had almost exploded with news about the affairs that had been happening at Taihang Mountains. The upheavals in the region had had its repercussions throughout the nation in a very short time.
Everyone had now learnt about this hundred-meter White Snake which was immune to even the deadliest weapon known to men. As the snake was running amok all over the place in the Mountains of Taihang, thousands of mutants had died. This news had shocked the world.
Soon, this became not just the topic of interest for one nation; the fear for the snake was widespread worldwide. After all, this was perhaps the biggest and the worst shock and tragedy that had happened ever since the beginning of the worldwide upheaval.
"I'm alright, mom. Rest assured! I will be heading back for you as soon as I can."
Chu Feng was making an unceasing effort to soothe the anxiety of his mother. He even lied to his mother out of good will that he had left the village a long time ago, and that right now, he was at the safety of his friend's house.
The call lasted for quite some time.
Later when Chu Feng finally started browsing news on his communicator had he realized how much of a global sensation the affairs had escalated to be.
There were a few pictures taken of the White Snake that had been uploaded to the internet. It showed that formidable body of the snake strangling a towering mountain to half, then soaring in the sky like a dragon descending from the heaven above. The visuals had given the internet users across the globe an astounding sight to behold.
Besides, there were also many vivid recounts told by the mutants who were present at the scene as well. The details of these stories shocked the world.
People had been growing increasingly worried. The appearance of the White Snake proved the age-old legend of a White Snake roaming free amidst the Mountains of Taihang.
However, the world had never been lacking all sorts of similar legends about different places. Some were even more bizarre and horrific. Were these legends also to be proven true?
If every piece of legend and fable were to become true, the world would become a doomed place to be.
Chu Feng browsed the news for quite a while before he finally put aside the communicator when sun finally set.
"Chu Feng! We f*cked up! Help!"
Suddenly, Zhou Quan rushed into the yard, looking completely panic-stricken.
"What's wrong?!" Chu Feng was dumbfounded. Obviously, Zhou Quan must have encountered something horrific. His pupils looked dilated, and he was out of breath.
Yellow Ox was very vigilant. It vaulted over the walls of the yard and looked in the direction of Taihang Mountains. The calf suspected that the White Snake might have appeared to cause Zhou Quan to behave in such a delirious way.
"The bad news hit me like a thunderbolt—news that had come of the death of someone dear!" Zhou Quan yelled and shouted.
"Did your brother have an accident?" Chu Feng knew that Zhou Quan had a brother who had been working away from home before the time of the upheavals. All the roads had been torn into pieces, and yet his brother still had not made his way back home.
"No!" Zhou Quan shook his head. He trembled and quivered; pointing to himself, he said, "It was me!"
What happened to him that could possibly made him so out of control? Chu Feng stared at him with a doubtful look.
"My horns grew back!" Zhou Quan wailed and howled.
Moments earlier, it was to his great relief that he could finally get rid of that pair of pesky horns. He felt his life was finally restored with normality as well as joy and hope.
However, after having eaten those pine nuts then a few hours of sleep, he noticed that his scalp was getting quite itchy. He then looked at himself in the mirror only to find out that snapped horns had come back to life again. It started growing, becoming more and more prominent once again.
Chu Feng was rather speechless. In fact, he had expected to see a comeback of those horns long since the moment he heard about the unfortunate "accidents" that had happened to them.
Yellow Ox, on the other hand, was not so calm upon the revelation of Zhou Quan's fuss. The calf thought that it was the arrival of the deadly snake that had rendered Zhou Quan so frantic.
"Come on, it's just a pair of horn growing on your head. Stop making such a fuss about it." Chu Feng patted Zhou Quan on the back.
Zhou Quan suddenly burst into tears and said, "It's not just two horns… if that were the case, I won't be reacting like this."
"Look! There is another one. My skull has become the host for a trio now!" Zhou Quan combed aside his slick-back hair and pointed at his head.
Sure enough, besides the two broken horns that were now in the process of regenerating, there was a new horn emerging in the center of his skull. It pointed upwards, like a plait pointing straight to the sky
"Wow, a third one?" Chu Feng was quite speechless too.
Zhou Quan looked up to heaven and sighed heavily. Two was enough to make him freak out, but how would he have thought that his bad luck was to be further intensified by having a third one sticking upwards like a sore thumb!
Yellow Ox grinned a silly grin. The calf even moved closer just to have a feel of this third horn acquired by Zhou Quan.
Yellow Ox's blatant mockery did not serve as much of a consolation to Zhou Quan either. He was so upset that he had every urge inside him to grind the meat of this apathetic bastard with his own teeth.
Yellow Ox softly bellowed. It then wrote a line of words on the ground, telling him that this might not be as bad as he might think. Later, the calf clarified that with this trio of an arrangement, Zhou Quan might even find a proper place in the family of all bovine creatures in the future.
"You! Get lost!" Zhou Quan had grown all exasperated. He pushed aside Yellow Ox's hooves and angrily stamped off, full of indignation and grievances.
In the evening, Chu Feng and Yellow Ox sat cross-legged in the yard. The two seemed as if they were enjoying the full bright moon that had vividly displayed itself against the backdrop of the dark night; but in fact, the two were gazing down at the soil in the wooden basket. How they wished that a miracle would occur right here right now.
"Someone is here!"
Suddenly, Chu Feng grew alerted.
In fact, Yellow Ox had sensed the presence of a third person as well. Ever since the ingestion of those pine nuts, the calf's instinct had grown ten times sharper than that in the past.
"Go hide! Don't poke out your head unless you were told to do so!"
Chu Feng ordered. Then, he hastily tidied up both the rooms inside and the yard outside in order to make sure that nothing that should stay as a secret would be exposed.
The bright moon shone brightly above. The night after that bloody fight was quiet and damning.
Chu Feng's house was on the far east side of the village, bordering with a sizeable area of orchid farm. The luminous moon shone like a sparkling and crystal-clear jade, granting the whole world beneath it with a day-like radiance.
The silhouette of a woman with a body slender and lanky emerged from the darkness in the distance. She was breathtakingly charming. Enshrouded in the brilliant moonlight, the lady elegantly walked in a halo of light.
Lin Naoi. It was her.