Just before dawn, Chu Feng could be seen bathing in the morning mist, practicing the special breathing technique.
He stopped his routine practice before long since he had to leave for the headquarters of the mutant association. If only he could impress them with his strength, his parents' safety should be guaranteed.
"Mother, you should go too."
After breakfast, Chu Feng called out to Wang Jing. He didn't want her to be left at home lest some accident befalls her.
He had completely eliminated all the men sent after him by Xu Wanyi, and this would undoubtedly provoke the woman, and there was no telling how she would retaliate.
"Very well," Wang Jing readily agreed.
Jiang Ning at dawn.
Outside the city, the tall mountains pierced through the clouds while the roars of tigers and apes echoed. Yet inside, amidst the hustle and bustle of the city's traffic, each sky-scraper was grander than the last. It was truly flourishing.
The contrast between the outside and the inside of the city were like different worlds. Perhaps such a scene could only be found in times like these—the last phases of an era.
At the Villa District of Jade Lake Bay, within a glorious and resplendent mansion which was Lin Yeyi's home.
Xu Wanyi was in a bad mood in the recent days. Even during breakfast, she was rather distracted. In a single night, 30 mutant elites went missing in action—this was a huge blow to her.
They were her trusted subordinates. She had spent a great deal of wealth and time to assemble this elite team.
The setback weighed heavily on her mind. She had intended to silently eliminate this bumpkin from the Taihang Mountains, but never did she anticipate such an outcome.
Her mind was greatly burdened. She wished she could mobilize the several hidden experts available to the Deity Biomedical Group to directly assault Shuntian and eliminate the household.
Regretfully, she wasn't Lin Naoi. She did not have such an authority.
Xu Wanyi was obsessed; she wanted to kill that brat from Shuntian at all costs.
A mutant approached her with a report. Apart from Chu Zhiyuan having hurt his back from a fall, Chu Feng's family of three were safe and sound.
"The identity of Angel Ox was this close to being exposed. I had truly underestimated him!" Xu Wanyi's face was ashen. Even though there was currently no solid evidence, she had instinctively formed some speculations.
She had been carefully investigating this matter in the recent days. Her squad of elites went missing at approximately the same time that Chu Zhiyuan hurt his back.
"Peng!" In great anger, she tossed her knife and fork onto the table. The fires of intense hatred burned in her eyes. She had always believed that her sister's death was not so simple.
Just like Mu, her death was rather questionable.
If Chu Feng was that Angel Ox, her theory would be reasonable. Both her sister and Mu had targeted Chu Feng at one point, even going as far as to attempt an assassination.
"It was likely my sister's fault for attacking you first, but what you've done is unforgivable!" She decided to focus her resentment on Chu Feng instead of considering her own sister's issue.
Lin Yeyi entered the dining hall. Having just returned from a bout of martial arts practice, his whole body was flowing with warmth and emitting a faint radiance.
Xu Wanyi rushed to welcome him, attentively wiping his sweat with a snow-white towel.
"Is something on your mind?" he asked "you barely touched your breakfast."
"I was thinking about my sister." Xu Wanyi sighed.
"The dead cannot be resurrected, do not aggravate yourself." Lin Yeyi embraced her shoulders, attempting to comfort her. Soon afterwards, he suddenly remembered something and asked, "By the way, I heard that your Ragnarok film has made rapid progress and might be even screened soon. Is that true?"
Xu Wanyi was finally able to smile. Perhaps this was the only good news she had received in the recent days. She was full of anticipation.
But she replied with modesty, "I'm rather ashamed to admit, I had only participated in a few supplementary scenes and not in the actual action and combat. For the scenes where they confronted the mutant beasts, substitute actors were used. I heard quite a few mutants were hired for this production."
Despite what she said, she was secretly delighted. This large scale film involved a lot of famous stars and was highly likely to be a big hit. Even though she wasn't the female lead, her role in the movie was not minor.
She might be able to rely on the momentum of this film to spread her fame across all of China.
The sun was high in the sky by the time Chu Feng and his parents arrived at their destination. This large courtyard occupied a huge space. The grey walls were old and worn, giving one a slight feeling of constraint.
In front of the gate were a number of trees. They were large to the point of requiring at least 3 people holding hands to encircle it.
He had passed by this place before, but back then, he had no reason to investigate this place. However, that was not the case today—since he had come as a candidate, he had to enter this compound.
The grounds were extremely silent, giving off a feeling of dignified peace.
After entering, he noticed a limestone path. Unexpectedly, he found some traces of ancient architecture with a variety of styles.
Within the courtyard, a few ancient trees stood tall, intertwining with the aged vines. Around them, the air was especially fresh and clean.
Seeing an inscribed tablet within the courtyard, Chu Feng almost thought he had come to the wrong place.
"Hollow Jade Temple!?" He was astounded.
Wasn't Jade Hollow Temple a holy daoist ritual site belonging to the legendary Yuanshi Tianzun?
Chu Feng was quite speechless. The exterior of the courtyard was so solemn, yet this tablet was just too comical. Just who could've written this?
Chu Zhiyuan and Wang Jing were also looking over with odd expressions. The solemn and dignified impression they had of this place had been thoroughly destroyed.
Immediately afterwards, Chu Feng was shocked to discover a certain person. He almost wanted to turn around and leave rather than having to meet him.
Zhou Yitian—that lousy director who had incessantly chased after him to film. Unexpectedly, he was also here.
During its era, the Angel Ox dominated the Taihang mountains. Such a majestic and awe-inspiring existence was forced into a miserable escape by a mere director, causing the many witnesses to be completely stupefied.
Up till now, it could be said that he was the only one who Chu Feng was not willing to confront.
"Did all of you come for the interview?" Zhou Yitian rushed over with a big amiable smile. "Come this way please."
This lousy director was one of the staff here? Chu Feng felt that it was extremely ridiculous to the point of wanting to walk away. How could this "Hollow Jade Temple" be a reliable place if even this kind of person was allowed among their ranks.
"Are you one of the staff here?" Wang Jing asked cordially.
"You could say that," he replied in an easy-going manner, "I had a favor to ask from the Hollow Jade Temple and was temporarily stationed here."
Any other person would find him very cordial and friendly. However, to Chu Feng, this man was the very definition of capriciousness.
He wanted to urge him to go back to shooting his film and stop messing around this place.
However, Zhou Yitian was extremely amiable. He enthusiastically led the trio through several courtyards.
Eventually, Chu Feng could not resist asking the unreliable director about how a tablet with the words "Hollow Jade Temple" was erected inside such a solemn compound.
"It's quite simple, the Hollow Jade Temple was ritual ground of Yuanshi Tianzun. It was representative of a powerful location where deities gathered. This place being the headquarters of the mutant association, naming it thus was deeply meaningful," Zhou Yitian replied.
To hell with it! Chu Zhiyuan almost blurted out. He truly felt it was too odd.
"You all should not doubt this. Even the higher ups tacitly agree that this place is called 'Hollow Jade Temple' in recognition of its status," said Zhou Yitian in a mysterious manner.
"Is it really that extraordinary?" Wang Jing was not timid. Even in this unfamiliar and mysterious place, she had the courage to speak out.
Zhou Yitian solemnly nodded, saying. "Just think about it, this is the headquarters of the mutant association. How could its leaders be any simple person?"
Chu Feng couldn't resist asking. "Don't tell me the leader here is called the 'Yuanshi Tianzun'?"
"As expected of mutants, sharply arriving at this conclusion within such a short time," Zhou Yitian spoke with a face full of admiration. This gave Chu Feng an intense desire to slap him in the face. Just how could this be called sharp?
Very quickly, Zhou Yitian's tone regained its seriousness. "However, you should not call him leader. That person is an extremely special and mysterious existence. Only those with sufficient strength may call him master. The others call him… Ah, let it be, normal people have no chance to meet him anyway."
The three looked at each other. Just what kind of place have they come to? Was this Hollow Jade Temple such a transcendent organization?
"Is the mysterious master of the Hollow Jade Temple very powerful?" asked Chu Feng.
"Of course!" Zhou Yitian nodded and replied in an assured manner, "he should be one of the most powerful elites of the human race."
"That powerful?" Chu Feng was amazed.
He already knew that Bodhi Genetics had Buddha's Disciples and Deity Biomedical had Lei Zhenzi. These expert mutants were said to have awakened over 20 years ago.
At that time, the great changes of the world had not truly begun.
It was said that one of the Disciples of Buddha called Qian Ye had once battled the White Serpent of Taihang mountains. Although it was unknown whether or not he died in the end, his strength could be imagined.
"Awesome to the extreme, almost unparalleled in this world," Zhou Yitian claimed with great reverence.
"Since he's so powerful, he should've shown himself when the Beast King was on a rampage. He should've at least killed the Ash Wolf and the Falcon.
Probably because first impressions are the strongest, Chu Feng always thought Zhou Yitian to be odd. How could a man distributing business cards within the Taihang mountain feel reliable?
"I'll tell you some top-secret news, but you must promise not to spread it," Zhou Yitian spoke in a whisper, "the master of Hollow Jade Temple will not personally appear because he is occupied with a world-shaking campaign"
"What kind of campaign is that?" Chu Feng inquired.
"He on a military expedition at the pilgrimage grounds. He plans to seize that place. That place is truly terrifying; battles happen everywhere, and mutants and beast kings rampage," Zhou Yitian said with a grim expression.
Chu Feng's expression changed for the first time. The battles at the pilgrimage grounds were indeed terrifying. Since the master of the Hollow Jade Temple was waging war there, he was definitely an unfathomable expert.
Zhou Yitian informed in whispers, "The Ash Wolf bathed the Yun Gui plateau in blood, the Falcon inciting the beast horde as well as the mutant beasts which appeared outside of Shuntian City were all treacherous schemes of the mutant beast race. They were hoping to force the experts of the human race out of seclusion and wear them down. However, the higher ups have their own strategies."
Chu Feng nodded, no longer convinced that he was talking rubbish.
Chu Ziyuan suddenly asked, "Since there is a Hollow Jade Temple, could there possibly be an Eight Visions Temple and a Roaming Jade Temple?"
Wang Jing had a rather odd expression in response to her husband's wild imagination. Eight Visions Temple and Roaming Jade Temple were the ritual grounds of Laozi and Tongtian Jiaozhu respectively. What were the chances of them existing alongside the Hollow Jade Temple?
Unexpectedly, Zhou Yitian was startled. He looked left and right to ensure no one was around before turning around with a nod, saying, "It's said that they do actually exist!"
Wang Jing's thoughts were in chaos. There were actually three mutant organizations that were each named Hollow Jade Temple, Eight Visions Temple and Roaming Jade Temple?!
"I only learnt of their hidden existence recently, from an extremely important friend," Zhou Yitian continued, "the master of the Eight Visions Temple is also an unfathomable expert, but this association is made up of only a handful of members. The Roaming Jade Temple is said to be situated in the great ocean. It must be known that there are also mysterious ancient trees growing in the ocean. A good example is the Fusang Divine Tree. It also goes without saying that the dangers within the ocean are many times more terrifying, the beast king there is truly ferocious. The master of the Roaming Jade Temple is also a ruthless and formidable individual."
The Chu Family was silent for quite some time. They needed some time to digest this astonishing new information.
"However, I also heard that the master of the Roaming Jade Temple has returned. He first plans to take over a renowned mountain on the mainland," informed Zhou Yitian.
At this moment, the master of the Hollow Jade Temple was engaged in a battle for the Sacrificial Grounds, while the other two masters have each occupied a renowned mountain.
This news was consistent with what he had previously heard from his classmate. The country wanted to take down a few renowned mountains, but it seemed that these strategic mountains were each guarded by a peerless expert.
"Then this means the Hollow Jade Temple, the Roaming Jade Temple and the Eight Visions Temple are all superpowers?" Wang Jing asked.
"That is of course true! They each have the power to clash head-on with any Beast King. Moreover, those elite experts such as Deity Biomedical's Lei Zhenzi and the Buddha's Disciples of Bodhi Biogenetics have all enrolled at the Hollow Jade Temple before."
From this, one could guess the power of the Hollow Jade Temple. Even those major corporations had to give them a certain level of respect.
"We've finally arrived! There are quite a lot of candidates this time," Zhou Yitian said as he recovered his usual demeanor and led them to their destination.