"What is this?" Wang Jing was surprised. She gazed at the little grain held in his son's palm, failing to make out what it was at first glance.
"Isn't this a strange fruit?" Chu Zhiyuan remained relatively calm. Although he had never encountered a strange fruit before, he was still reminded of it at his first glance.
"Yes! This is a strange fruit!" Chu Feng frankly admitted.
When they heard his affirmative answer, both Wang Jing and Chu Zhiyuan showed a look of surprise. They could no longer remain calm as both of them were astounded.
They knew at what hefty price something like this could be sold for.
Shuntian was the trading center of the north; it was one of the country's largest cities. Things like strange fruits were rarely sold at stores, and on the shelves of the shop that did sell these fruits, they were usually sold at a hefty price.
It was said that even the ones with the lowest quality were still sold for eight million Earth coins, or forty million Jiuzou dollars at least!
Therefore, how could they not be surprised when they saw that their son had brought back for them one of these fruits? They quaked with terror upon seeing it.
"Feng… where did you get this?" Wang Jing's voice trilled.
"I brought them back from Taihang Mountains," Chu Feng calmly replied. He unfolded his hand so that they could have a better look at the legendary fruits.
In his hand, there were twelve pine nuts in total. Every one of them was glittering purple, gleaming like diamonds, looking all alluring to the eyes of the beholders. In addition to the visual enticement, the nuts also gave off a pleasant smell. It soothed the person's minds and heart.
"Purple pine nuts. Aren't these the seeds of that pine tree in Taihang Mountain?" Chu Zhiyuan soon realized something. He made a right judgement.
"That's right. This is the seed of that very pine tree!" Chu Feng told them.
"Oh God! I heard about it in the news. There was a white snake guarding the tree at all time. Many mutants had tried to make a go for the nuts, but few of them had successfully come back. God knows how many had died there… but… how did you manage to bring some back?"
Wang Jing was astonished. The more she knew, the more frightened she was. She looked at Chu Feng up and down to see if her son was injured.
A month had passed since the fierce battle of Taihang Mountains was over, but the story was still frequently mentioned in people's conversation. Thousands had died in a single battle; such a heavy casualty astonished the world.
"Rest assured, mom. I'm fine. There was not a single spot of a bruise on my body!" Chu Feng comforted.
"These are some invaluable fruits. Their worth cannot be measured by money," Chu Zhiyuan said. He understood what these seeds were capable of.
Fruits that were borne on a grass were already sold at an exorbitant price. Even the cheapest ones still cost forty-nine million dollars.
Fruits that were borne on a tree, on the other hand, was a totally different animal. No-one would sell these, because as soon as the news about the fruit was let out, people would swarm the shop and loot the fruit for themselves. Something like this was priceless!
Because it could make the one who consumed a master in every possible field.
"This is not the entire pine cone. They are only the nuts, but they should suffice your need, mom and dad," Chu Feng said.
People like Kong Kim became what they were because they had found and consumed the entirety of a strange fruit, but the pine tree in Taihang Mountains had borne a whole bunch of pine nuts. This would help many people to evolve all at the same time, but no-one could be as strong as Kong Kim.
Ordinary people normally would only need four to five pine nuts. Beyond that number, the ingested nuts would only go to waste. It would stop functioning as a catalyst to help enhance one's body constitution.
This seemed to be something predestined. The true purpose of the purple pine nuts was to evolve a group of people than to only let one reach the acme of perfection.
But even so, the combined effect of these pine nuts was still much greater than the fruits that were borne by the grasses.
"Feng, there must have been a lot of things happened to you lately. Tell me, are you stronger than most of other mutants?" Chu Zhiyuan asked.
"Yes!" Chu Feng affirmatively answered. He wanted to give his parents some peace of mind. Even though no-one could ever know for sure, who or what would be the strongest in the end, Chu Feng at least wanted to reassure them that he was capable enough to walk in the vast and dangerous world outside safely and unhindered.
"Then I could set my mind at rest. I know that what happened today wasn't an accident. It was someone's botched attempt to murder me. I know this, but I was afraid that you might do something stupid or act rashly. Therefore, I chose to hide the secret from you," Chu Zhiyuan said.
They had been troubled by mutants in the past; therefore, he knew that something was not right this time around as well. He grew worried about his life.
But right now, he could finally put his unsettled mind at ease.
"Mom, dad, you don't need to be bothered by what happened today, nor should you be worried or concerned. I will help you resolve it," Chu Feng said. He tried to put their mind at rest by offering these reassuring words.
But inside him, there was a steaming surge of anger and hatred. This was not an accident, as his father had just proven. Someone was trying to kill him.
Chu Feng grew resentful. This was not the first time where his father's life was put in danger. One time after another, the attacks were incessant. Whatever intentions that these people harbored were unforgivably evil. He swore that he would eradicate every person that had had posed as a threat to the safety of his family. He would trace these people back to their roots!
Even at times when his life was in danger, Chu Feng's father still tried to cover it up. He feared that his son might act rashly, fearing that he might put his son in danger as well.
Chu Feng's was feeling guilty. Clearly, those people were coming for him.
"What a horrid person that man was!" Wang Jing was furious.
"Do you need these seeds to help yourself to improve your body constitution?" Chu Zhiyuan asked.
"I don't need the seeds now," Chu Feng informed them.
"That's good then. Sure! I will eat these pine nuts." Chu Zhiyuan nodded.
Chu Feng held back his anger, remaining gentle and even-tempered in front of his parents. He tried to free them from worries. "Dad, didn't you say that those mutated people were just a bunch of sadistic beasts? You sounded quite negative about the idea back then. How come you suddenly become a vigorous supporter for eating the fruit?"
"It was because I knew that I would never have the money to buy a strange fruit to help me mutate. I was just trying to comfort myself with the consoling words to make myself feel better," Chu Zhiyuan said with a smile. He didn't blush at all when admitting his own shortcomings. The father and the son were very similar in this respect.
"One day, this world will become a complete chaos, so to stay alive, one must have the ability to protect himself," Chu Zhiyuan solemnly said, "there are no other alternatives left for us to choose; even if it comes at the cost of having some nonhuman features growing on you, like a horn on your head or some scales sprawling on your skin, does it really matter if the only thing you want is to stay alive?"
"Do people actually grow horns after eating this?" Wang Jing looked pale. She was a woman after all. Even when she had long passed her years of youth, she still cared a lot about her appearance.
"Don't worry. I won't forsake you for having some extra horns growing on your head," Chu Zhiyuan said with a smile.
"But I do!" Wang Jing threw his husband an angry glance.
The two enjoyed a happy marriage. They had always been in love with each other since the day of the wedding.
Chu Feng was sitting on the side, grinning from ear to ear while watching the quarrel went on. He crunched the pine cone with all his strength to free all twelve pine nuts from their nests. He then urged his parents to eat them.
Chu Zhiyuan didn't hesitate. He shoved six pine nuts into his mouth. "How delicious!" he praised.
He was a decisive man. Soon, all six pine nuts were down his throat. He was just like his son in this respect. As soon as a decision was made, he would put it straight into action.
"Mom, give it a try. It's not gonna be harmful!" Chu Feng urged.
Wang Jing clenched her teeth and closed her eyes, like a prisoner who was about to be executed. She slowly peeled the nutshell then carefully nibbled the nuts away. She was afraid that the mutation might ruin her appearance.
She suddenly exclaimed. Because the purple pine nuts were delicious alright. They were way more palatable than an ordinary pine nut.
"Huh? How is my appearance still not changed?" Wang Jing waited for a long time, but she couldn't feel anything had become different.
"Mutation would only occur after a certain period of time. Different people might have different initial reactions to the strange fruits. The process might be painful for some, while others might feel drowsy. Some might even grow feverish in the process. But there is nothing you need to worry," Chu Feng said.
In fact, Chu Feng was expectant as well. He wanted to see what changes might occur to his parents, and what mysterious molecules had been hiding in their bodies' systems. Half an hour had passed, but neither of the two was feeling unwell.
"Maybe you need to have some rest first before the nuts could exert any effects on you," Chu Feng said.
Suddenly, the doorbell rang.
Almost at the same time, a murderous look emerged on Chu Feng's face. He looked vicious and bloodthirsty. He signalled for his mother to open the door while he went back to his own room.
"What's the matter, Feng?"
"Don't worry, mom. Just do what you've got to do," Chu Feng said. He sensed that the man on the outside had a strange breath of air.
"Tongtian postal service!" A young man was standing by the door when the door was opened. There was a parcel in his hands.
"Oh, it's the clothes I bought online a few days ago." Wang Jing sighed out an air of relief.
However, the postman walked straight into the house then closed the door behind him.
"What… do you want?!" Wang Jing grew vigilant. She quickly fell back a few steps.
"Nothing. I heard about the tragedy that has happened to your husband. I heard that he had broken his back in that accident, so I thought that I would better pay him a visit." The postman walked into Chu Zhiyuan's bedroom with a grin that spread from his ear to ear.
He felt quite at home. He was puffed up with pride and arrogance, treating someone else's house as his own domain. He didn't care what the host and hostess of the house might feel or think.
He walked into the room with a swagger then sat down on a chair. "How bad is your injury? Your spine is still in one piece, right?" he asked.
Wang Jing was furious.
Chu Zhiyuan signalled for her to stay quiet.
"Who are you? How do you know that I'm injured? What do you want from me?" Chu Zhiyuan asked.
He knew that these were also the questions that Chu Feng would like to know the answers to.
Wang Jing was angry, but she remained silent.
The postman had an ordinary look. Visually, he was just like every other ordinary person that roamed the earth, except for his eyes. His eyes looked especially strange. Occasionally, a glint of blue light glimmered in his eyes that looked rather scary.
"So, it seems that your injury wasn't that bad. I had planned to have you crushed under the wheels of a car. I had wished to see you end up with both legs crippled and multiple bones fractured. I never hoped you to die, but sadly, my wish hasn't been satisfied."
The man said in a regrettable tone with a voice that carried a note of mockery. He almost ruined a man's life, but for this cold-blooded murderer, it was nothing to be worried for.
"How can a man be so wicked and so sick in his heart? You almost killed my husband, but you still came here to visit us like nothing had happened. Who are you? What do you want?" Wang Jing called the man to account. She had grown very resentful.
She still tried to control herself. She tried to sound the man out about who he really was.
"No, this is not right. The man I saw on the street was taller than you and brawnier than you. You are not the same man!" Wang Jing frowned. She realized that something was not right.
"Both men are me. The only thing different is the external body," the man said. He leisurely sat there cross-legged. The man sipped at a cup of tea that he had made for himself.
"What do you mean?" Chu Zhiyuan frowned.
"I'm capable of doing earth-shattering things, but I will always have to walk in the dark. This makes me sick and uncomfortable." The man shook his head and sighed.
"A man as insidious and caustic as you are unworthy of my respect, regardless of what you're capable of," Wang Jing said with scornful looks.
The man gave a snort. Clearly, he was unhappy. He had extraordinary talents and aptitudes, but no-one had ever known it. It was clear that he wanted to pour out his grievances and mental sufferings to someone who could understand.
"For you, I'm a god, an otherworldly being whom you can only aspire to be!" the man said. Glints of blue light shimmered in his eyes.
Then, a blurry wink of blue light departed from the body then suspended in the air. It gradually condensed and became a visible sphere of the size of a human fist.
"Where am I?" that postman mumbled. He opened his eyes, looking muddled and confused.
But soon, the man closed his mouth again, because the sphere of blue light had returned to his body.
"You…" Wang Jing was taken aback.
"You are a ball of spirit who could take control of other people's body?" Chu Zhiyuan was surprised.
"Yes, you guessed it. My spirit with my mind forms a strong magnetic field. It can leave my own body and take control of others. This is the one and the only such capability in this world, and I've got it."
The man sat with a slouch on his chair. The tension in the air could be cut with a knife, but the man was still keeping his cool under the pressure.
"You've offended someone whom you shouldn't have. He had asked me to take care of you without leaving any traces. These days, someone would always encounter some sort of life-endangering or injury-inflicting accidents every now and then," the man spoke in a careless way.
"For example, you could have had your leg bones fractured by the wheels of a car then spend the rest of your life on a wheelchair. No-one would find out anything suspicious about this 'accident', because the man whom I had taken control of was hypnotized. When he woke up, he would only blame himself and think that he himself had maimed you for life," the man said with a smile.
"How could you be so vicious?" Wang Jing both hated and feared this man.
"Was that vicious? It's too early to say that yet. I came here tonight to see what other accidents might happen to you guys. A gas leak, for example, could lead to explosion and fire; you guys would be severely injured. Or, one of you guys could slip and fall as you are taking shower; and you fall so badly that your bones are fracture. These are the two choices. Which one of them do you want?"
He said these vicious words in a free and relaxed manner with a contemptuous grin on his face.
In the other room, Chu Feng had a frosty look. He closed the pores of his body to hide his existence as he listened behind the closed door. "What a vicious man." Chu Feng thought. "Would kill him anytime."
"Torturing us without taking our lives is really a daring thing for you to do. Aren't you afraid that we will make your crime known to the others?" Wang Jing asked.
"I will hypnotize you entirely so that will only remember that you've been through some types of accidents. You might wake up finding yourself maimed and crippled, but don't freak out," he said, "alas, everything I did, everything I achieved had to be hidden away and unknown to anyone. This really makes me sad and uncomfortable." He sighed.
Obviously, he was rather uncomfortable about the fact that he had to hide away his power.
"Who on earth sent you here?" Chu Zhiyuan questioned.
"Alright, I will tell you, since you are so curious. In fact, I would tell you anyway since you will be made to forget everything eventually. A woman from the city of Jiangning made me do this. She is not someone you dare to offend, but since you did, you will have to pay the price. But anyway, how does this even matter to you now? Tell me, which type of injury you'd like to find on yourself?"
He got up with his blue eyes twinkling.
"Oh, forgot to mention, her main target is your son. He will be killed!" he added.
A sphere of blue light departed from his body. It was his spirit being ripped away from his corpse. He was about to take actions.
Suddenly, a rumbling sound of thunder exploded in the room, and when the next moment came, the blue light started to cry and wail tragically. It burst into half.
The sound came from the corner of the room where Chu Feng stood. He had roared to send out ripples of sonic waves to blast that blue spirit.
In the battle of White Snake, Chu Feng killed and torn apart all eighteen mutants who had taken the special drug with his roar. The roar could destabilize one's mentality and render them insane.
It was conceivable how terrifying the roar was!
Recently, Chu Feng had evolved, so naturally, the power of his roar was even greater.
"Ah…" half of the sphere died and rapidly burned in oblivion. The last half went back to that lifeless corpse of the postman. The postman suddenly came back to life then rushed out of the house like a madman.
"Feng!" Wang Jing cried. She was a bit terrified.
"Mum, dad, don't worry. I will be back in no time." Chu Feng followed the postman out of the house. In fact, he himself was a bit shocked to some extent as well.
Who could have thought that someone would have the ability to drive their own spirits out of their bodies? It was a strange sight for him to see. Although the spirit was only an insubstantial ball of gas, it was strong and powerful. It could stand the blast of sonic waves at such close quarters without the protection of his body. Only half of it had been blast away, thus it could be seen how powerful this mutant was.
But it seemed like the spirit needed a body to open doors. Although it was only a sphere of gas, it could not run through walls. This made Chu Feng feel slightly at ease. He was now not afraid of the spirit running away from him.
Chu Feng leisurely followed behind. He was in no rush, because he was going for this mutant's own body!
When the spirit left the body, the body was at a susceptible stage. Chu Feng thought that the man's corpse must have been in the vicinity.
As expected, not long after the postman left the house, a dull blue spirit dashed out of the man's body. It rapidly escaped into the distance.
Chu Feng sneered. He kept at a distance behind the darting spirit. He wanted to tail it to where its body was at.
There was a park near his house, and it had a dense vegetation coverage. The blue light dashed into the woods, escaping into the depths of the forest.
There was a man sitting still beside a tree. The blue light disappeared into that man's skull in the twinkling of an eye.
Chu Feng was following behind at a pace that was just as fast as the spirit traversed the air. But when he turned his speed to a maximum, Chu Feng could run two hundred and sixty meters per second. It was terrifying.
As such, as soon as the spirit returned to the body, Chu Feng suddenly picked up speed. In the twinkling of an eye, Chu Feng made it over to the tree where the body lay.
He struck the man with his feet, then with a clonk, the man's spine cord shattered into pieces. Meanwhile, the rest of the body was flying up and down in the woods.
Then, he struck the man with his feet for another few times. With another few crackling sounds, the man's legs broke into pieces.
Chu Feng stamped one of his feet on the man's mouth and warned, "Don't scream, or I will make you suffer more!"
The man wailed on the ground. He kept his wail at a low pitch. He was too terrified to scream loudly. His face looked pale, and his clothes were all sodden with sweat.
"Injuring my dad's back then wishing his legs to be crushed by the wheels of a car. How about I give them to you first, and we'll see how you like it!" Chu Feng looked down at the man.