The seed took roots and sprouted. It was full of vigor and energy, gleaming glitters even after darkness settled in.
In the stone box, the sprout was green as an agate. It was crystalline and transparent. The green shoot pierced through the crust of the earth and exuded a very powerful sense of lively vitality.
Chu Feng was exhausted, but after breathing in the fragrance of the sprout, he felt all at ease.
He had been hurrying on his way during the daytime before fighting out to an unfinished end in the evening. These were done at the expense of his physical strength, but all these exhaustions were soon eradicated by the mere smell of the sprout.
The green of the sprout was thorough, rendering the whole thing jade-like. Chu Feng could see with his own eyes the rapid growth of this sprout. From the moment of it breaking through the soil to now growing to a height of almost half an inch, all were quietly taking place under Chu Feng's fervent gaze.
In the twinkling of an eye, the sprout had already given birth to two pairs of delicate leaves.
So far, Chu Feng could hardly tell if the sprout was going to become a blade of grass or a tree. It was still growing in a greenish glow. Everything still looked lively and energetic. The box was bustling with lives.
Chu Feng took a deep breath. He could sense a restoration of strength in his body. He started to run at a faster pace, venturing even deeper into this primitive mountain where greater danger resided.
He needed time. He needed to evade Chen Hai. In such a critical time, he could not bear the consequence of letting Chen Hai find him!
The mysterious plant was still growing, but the speed at which it grew started to slow down. However, things were getting stranger and stranger. There was a hazy layer of misty air enshrouding the plant in the middle, veiling its greenish color. The whole plant had now become vague and mysterious.
Chu Feng was way too familiar with mountains like this. He used to temper himself with Yellow Ox in his company. During that time, he had been duelling all kinds of beasts and birds of prey. He knew these animals like the palm of his hand.
His familiarity of the nature of a primitive mountain granted him a slight edge over Chen Hai.
There was an area of marshland ahead of him. It had a slight sulphur-like smell. By experience, Chu Feng knew at once that between those dense reeds, a fire crocodile must be hiding.
He wiggled around between the thick growth of reeds while consciously choosing where to land his feet. Then, like a breeze of wind, Chu Feng cruised through this marshland without startling its residents.
He understood the habits and characteristics of the animals that lived here. The smell of sulphur along with the asymmetrical distribution of dry and wet earth in the marshland gave away the location of the fire crocodile.
"The crocodile is a valiant beast. Hopefully, it could bug Chen Hai just a little bit!" Chu Feng had encountered the beast many times himself. First-hand experience in encountering this beast was plentiful for him.
He still ran at a speedy pace. Traversing through marshlands, clambering over mountains… Chu Feng had chosen the most dangerous region to travel. His understanding of the beasts that resided in these danger zones had proven effective in helping him evade them.
But, for Chen Hai, his journey was quite a bumpy one.
Chu Feng was certain that Chen Hai would have to suffer a fit of turbulent encounters with the pesky beasts before finding him.
Ahead of Chu Feng and in the canyons between two separate mountains, miasma had grown thicker.
Chu Feng paused to observe. He smelled blood. It was a familiar smell for him. Chu Feng found a particular plant amongst a thick growth of brambles. He quickly pounded the plant into paste with his feet then applied it to himself. The application of the paste made Chu Feng smell awfully terrible.
Then, he ran like the wind, flashing through the thick miasma between the mountains.
There was a huge monster in the mountain. It looked down at the canyon, watching as Chu Feng speedily scurrying away. The monster did not seem to care at all.
Chu Feng traversed the forest unhindered. All the places he chose to pass by were the most dangerous zones on earth. Even he almost got into some deadly crises, but luckily, Chu Feng always managed to extricate himself from danger in the end.
The forest was becoming more and more primitive. Every beast Chu Feng encountered was prehistoric. Every now and then, Chu Feng would run into one of these beasts, but he could only try to evade them since they were almost impossible to deal with.
The further Chu Feng ventured, the more horrifying the surroundings became. In the depth of these forests, there were residing some of the "overlords" of the animals' domain.
Chu Feng knew that his plan might potentially lead him to death if he continued to venture further into the dangerous territories. No matter how well he knew about the habits and characteristics of those beasts, he would still most likely lose his life in the end.
The path ahead of him was leading into yet another mountain, and behind that mountain, there was another. They all looked the same, and if he ran into a thick miasma somewhere deep in those mountains, Chu Feng might never find his way back.
"This should be it!"
Chu Feng thought that he should have shaken off Chen Hai by now. He had won himself plenty of time, so it was time to stop.
Because the plant in the stone box started to grow at an even faster rate. The elongated stalk of this delicate sprout was swaying in the wind as Chu Feng hastily scurrying forward. He was worried, because the sprout might break in two if he still acted so rashly around it.
Right now, the plant had grown to a meter in height. It was still thoroughly green. That lush green stalk of this plant was pouring out the unparalleled vibrancy of life. Amidst the thick misty air, the plant had a vague halo around it, making itself all the more extraordinary.
Chu Feng chose an advantageous terrain to settle down. The plant and the stone box were left on the ground beside him.
The place was peppered with towering trees. In the distance, the sound of roaring beasts was incessant.
"Is this a vine or a tree?" Chu Feng was astounded.
It was certainly not a grass. Its main trunk was as thick as a thumb, then it went upwards until it reached a meter in height. The plant branched off halfway through into something that looked both like a branch and a cane.
The plant looked like a tree, because it was perfectly straight; but it resembled a vine just as much. Its trunk was soft and supple; it was slightly bent too, providing an anchorage point for the parts above it to spread onto something else.
The leaves and the canes were both in the same color. They looked delicately green. They were so verdant that it seemed almost as if it were about to drip water.
The leaves were eerily shaped too. They looked just like the palm of a human hand, but in green as well. When the nightly breeze passed by, the whole plant moved like a thousand-hand Bodhisattva.
There were many stripy lines on the leaves. Looking carefully, Chu Feng noticed that they looked rather similar to those he found on the seeds.
There were also some on the main trunk. The lines were clear and deeply carved in.
Looking from a distance, the plant was surrounded within a sphere of green light. It looked vague because of the thick misty miasma, but it still gave the darkness of the night a sense of tranquillity and serenity. Everything had never been so mysterious too.
The stone box had no observable changes throughout this series of progression. It still looked simple and unsophisticated; it was silent as a grave.
"Huh?!" Chu Feng was surprised to realize that the plant started show abnormality again.
It grew against the wind, reaching a height of around one fifty centimeters. Then, the roots quickly grew out from the confinement of stone box and took roots in the forest soil.
Those roots were also green, and they looked just as equally crystalline as the rest of this plant.
Rootstocks of this plant were abundant. They entered the soil then started to greedily take up any nutrients that were needed for the growth of the plant.
Soon, the stone box became covered by these verdant roots, hidden from the public's eye.
Chu Feng's eyes were sparkling with excitement as he watched the plant evolve into something that was eerily pleasant to the eye.
Since the very first change that had taken place inside the stone box, Chu Feng had already known that the seed would most probably take roots and sprout in just a few days or so. However, it had really come as a pleasant surprise for him to witness a plant growing so fast at such an unprecedented rate.
He was expectant, and he was also filled with a sense of accomplishment.
The miasma in this region started to dissipate. Moonlight started drooping down onto the forest's soggy soil as the night sky became clear and starry.
Underneath the bright moon light, this plant had become increasingly sparkling and crystal-clear, and it looked like an exquisite piece of jade carving. It was so verdant that it had almost made Chu Feng's heart break into pieces.
Finally, the growth of this plant stopped when it reached the height of an average man.
It looked like a green vine, but it had not entangled onto anything else. It could stand perfectly straight on its own. There were a few branches, and all of which had been shielded by a thick growth of palm-like leaves.
It emitted streams of misty air to hide itself from view. Green beams of radiating shine flowed along the trunk of the plant slowly like a mysterious sphere of halo.
Suddenly, on the tip of the green vine, a bright light started to shine. It had an unmatched splendidness. Meanwhile, the vitality of this plant had also suddenly become ten times more vigorous. It looked even more lively than before!
Chu Feng was shocked and astonished. He stood and watched in awe.
At the tip of the strange vine, green light came to blossom. It looked a bit eye-piercing. Behind all that blinding halo, there was a green bud-shaped thing growing. Chu Feng squinted his eyes and looked carefully. It was a bud indeed, and just like the trunk of the plant, it grew at an unprecedented speed!
Chu Feng nervously watched it growing. At the same time, he was very excited too.
Everything was beyond belief. The seed might have been a frustrating annoyance when it was reluctant to show any signs of growth, but when it resuscitated, its growth started to stun the world! For Chu Feng, this was unbelievable!
The magnificent beams of radiating green lights trickled from the tip into the roots. Gradually, the lights became softer.
The moon was shining brightly, and its silver shine illuminated all things on earth. Against the bland greyish backdrop of the forest, the vine stood out like a glistening star.
Somewhere else, Chen Hai was still looking for Chu Feng with a pasty complexion. He traversed the forest like a beast, and only god would know how many ferocious animals he had killed. Chen Hai was drenched to the skin with the blood of his victims.
His brutal slaughter could make a section of the forest fall completely still and silent; all kinds of beasts and birds of prey in that section trembled with fright, but as soon as he trod on the soil of a new section, he became the prey of those unknowing beasts once again.
He could tell that his opponents in each new section were becoming increasingly harder to deal with.
As he entered a marshland, the silence that had been created was shattered. The once lifeless marshland suddenly came to life. Mud flew in all direction, and a red-hot crocodile suddenly emerged from the thick growth of reels.
The beast was covered with scales that were crimson in color. A column of flame jetted out from its oral cavity as soon as the thing opened its bloody mouth. The flames lit up the entire marshland; all the initially greenish reels became charred remains while the once soggy earth had almost instantly dried up. Even the void and the oblivion of this world seemed about to be burnt down by this scorching flame.
"The fire of Samadhi?" Chen Hai was taken aback. He rapidly retreated from the scene.
Torrents of flame were surging, melting the earth into an ocean of billowing lava.
From marshland to a lava pool, this impossible transformation occurred in a matter of second. It felt way too sudden.
Chen Hai became a bolt of lightning as he rapidly backed off a few hundred meters from the scene in the twinkling of an eye. His agility and speed unlocked through the practice of boxing style had allowed him to run at an inconceivable speed.
"Just some fire of Samadhi. I thought you were going to set everything in this world on fire. Go to hell, you weakling!" he coldly exclaimed. Whatever was obstructing his way, he would kill with no mercy.
The place suddenly crumbled into a sea of lava, then to Chen Hai's surprise, he witnessed with his own eyes a flying crocodile! It had a pair of wings.
However, Chen Hai was a demon from hell. His boxing style was invincible, so before long, after he finally routed out the crocodile amidst columns of fire, his fist punched right through its skull.
The ten-meter crocodile plummeted to its demise like a lifeless lump of meat. The impact of this lump hitting the earth sent tremor throughout the forest.
However, Chen Hai was slightly injured as well. One of his arms had been scorched by the flame. It looked a bit charred, but it was nothing life-threatening. However, an injury like this was still infuriating for him.
He darted forth like a javelin, and with just a few hops and leaps, he was already hundreds of miles away from those pools of inferno.
The brutal killings of the beasts resumed. As Chen Hai progressed further into the mountains, he left behind a trail of blood of his victims. He was an uncharitable killer.
The miasma forming on the road ahead was thick and impenetrable. Chen Hai's sharp instinct allowed him to perceive some form of hostility amidst that thick misty air.
However, he was certain that he would be able to make it through swiftly in a scurry. Even if there were dangers veiling itself inside the fog, he was confident that he would be out of it before anything could touch him.
However, the beasts in the depth of these mountains should never be underestimated. When the beast sensed the smell of its prey, it suddenly came out of nowhere with a huge net to capture Chen Hai inside.
"What is this?!" even someone as powerful as Chen Hai was taken aback.
The beast was a giant. It was over twenty meters tall with a body thoroughly white. It looked like a spider with those typical spider legs, but it had the skull of a lion, looking ferocious and savage.
That beast spun spider yarns around Chen Hai, turning him into a chrysalis.
"F*ck off!" Chen Hai was infuriated.
The yarns were as thick as human arms. If anyone were caught in them, they would hardly ever escape the tight entanglement of a chrysalis.
While evading the incoming yarns, Chen Hai was ready to fight back.
Boom! Boom! Boom!
The earth of the canyon between the mountains trembled like it had been struck by an earthquake. Chen Hai had flown into a rage; he leaped and hopped to evade the yarns, but he had exerted so much force with his feet that the earth had been completely shattered by him.
It took him almost half an hour before he could finally make it through the canyon. He was entangled in spindles of white spider yarns. Ashamed and infuriated, Chen Hai's face had turned ashen with rage.
There was a gaping hole on his shoulder that had almost punctured through his arm. Blood was spurting out from the wound.
Although he had killed that monster, it was done at a hefty cost. That beast was an "overlord" of the nearby regions. In the last minute before its eventual death, it struck Chen Hai with its white spider leg. It was sharper than a spear, and it was almost stabbed into Chen Hai's heart.
However, Chen Hai was a truly a horrific fighter. He utilized the essence of his boxing style to extract power from the very core of his body. He maneuvered the turbulence in the air and bombarded the beast with sheer forces. In the end, the beast was torn apart while still alive. Its blood and its fragmented body parts all came down as a spatter of rain, turning the entire canyon into a gory horror.
"You do know a few tricks to help yourself avoid these beasts, but so what? Do you think you can stop me with these? Perish the thought, you donk!" Chen Hai was grim-faced.
He was right. Chu Feng had indeed intended to let the native residents of these mountains to take care of him.
Earlier on, Chen Hai had sensed the presence of something strange in Chu Feng's hand.
Chu Feng had noticed that avarice was a major part of Chen Hai's characteristics. It was shown when Chen Hai blatantly thwarted all attempts by the woman to report their findings to their superior. Therefore, in order to provoke him even further, Chu Feng revealed to him the stone box. The revelation forced Chen Hai to kill the woman in order to keep her mouth shut. With help of a careful scheme, Chu Feng had perished all his enemies except for one.
Chu Feng understood the habits and characteristics of all the monstrous beasts in the mountain. They were his trump cards in winning this fit of conflicts.
Chu Feng was waiting for the opportunity to stab Chen Hai in the back, and he would make sure that this final blow would be deadly.
If the worst of the worst happened, Chu Feng could always use the power of those pine nuts to help him quickly evolve into something capable enough of fighting Chen Hai toe-to-toe.
In any events, Chen Hai must be dead. Chu Feng could not afford the cost of someone divulging his secret to even a corpse, let alone someone whose son whom he had just killed.
"You are a dead man to me now!" Chen Hai wore a sullen look. His conditions were not quite well either. With a strong murderous desire, Chen Hai dragged his feet slowly across the soggy forest floor, trampling on the blood of the beast he just killed, like a demon from Hell.
Although a lot of time had been wasted on the road and he himself was injured, Chen Hai still firmly believed that Chu Feng would never be able to run from his clutch.
His boxing training had granted him a horrifically accurate instinct. He could always sense the trail that Chu Feng had left behind. Following this trail, he was closing in on him.
Chen Hai would not let off his enemy lightly. Today, Chu Feng was destined to be killed by him!
In the further depths of the mountains, Chu Feng was filled with joy and happiness. He watched the strange vine harboring a delicate bud at the very tip of its structure. The bud was quickly increasing in size.
Chu Feng vented out an air of relief. It was now needless for him to ingest the pine nuts; instead, he could wait for the bud to burst into full blossom then extract what Yellow Ox called "catalyst".
The pine nuts were priceless for the ordinary people. Even with billions of dollars on offering, one might still never attain such an invaluable fruit! After all, its sole ability to allow someone to quickly evolve into something more powerful while having the potential to elongate one's longevity was enough to win all the craze for it.
But for Chu Feng, it was a difficult choice to make.
There wouldn't have been so many problems arising at this stage if he had only wanted to become a strong and powerful mutant. He could easily go ahead and shove the seeds down his throat, but he knew the truths. Chu Feng wanted to go farther than just being just another mutant.
There were significant pitfalls in taking this shortcut, as warned by Yellow Ox before, and the problems would soon arise at a later stage!
Although those so-called "later stage" might be fairly remote and they might not even come at all during the limited lifespan of a human being, but Chu Feng was still full of scruples.
The nut might have been an item in demand for others, but for him, it was a hot potato.
Suddenly, the strange vine started rocking. The bud was about to blossom.
The vine was still thoroughly green; even the bud on its tip was verdant. The bud was as large as a bowl. Chu Feng stood in the distance, but he was still met with wafts of sweet scent. The bud would soon burst into full blossom!