The light-complexioned face of the woman turned frosty as her exquisite hands turned black and blue from her clenching fists. Her breath delivered a murderous intent through the communicator, signalling her profound hatred towards that unworthy on the other end of the line.
A ball of fire burned in her chest; at the moment, she had no way to deal with it. In particular, that typical frivolous attitude of Chu Feng exacerbated her anger to such a degree that she could feel every fiber of her muscle was driving her to go down to the foot of Taihang Mountains and kill him with her own hands.
She tried to maintain a cold and indifferent attitude in her voice as she spoke, "I need you to ensure their safety!"
"Who on earth are you actually? I don't find it fun to be posted with all these monsters from you all day long. They really gave me heart attacks when they showed up." Chu Feng really kicked up a stink about the woman's doing. He even went so far as to ask, "Are you a witch?"
The woman hung up the call without a scruple. Her face had turned from young and pretty to ashen and livid.
"Who is actually helping him?!"
She stood by her bedroom's window; glaring into the night sky, she frowned. This succession of failures had made her heart palpitate, but at the same time, there was an unspeakable feeling of worry and concern within her.
Seven mutants and a team of crack troops had disappeared along with all the weapons at this point. To her and to the company, this was a significant loss.
If someone had to be held accountable for this, it would definitely be her.
Last time in her analysis, she had eliminated the possibility of Chu Feng's involvement in the disappearance of all the mutants. She had learnt from a test result done on Chu Feng's hair that his gene determined that it was impossible for him to mutate. He was just another man bordering on the mundane.
"Or is he being helped by someone? Am I also being watched by him?" she mumbled in a qualm.
Under the grand chandelier, the woman paced back and forth in the room. She then suddenly smashed the glass goblet in her hand with a splat; the red wine within splattered.
It couldn't be Lin Naoi. She had eliminated this possibility last time as well.
Thinking attentively, the woman felt very much unease and unnerved.
To her, Chu Feng was only a boor living with a family of hillbillies. She had promised her client that it would be an easy job to dispose of him.
She had even thought of many ways for him to die so that his death would only look like an unfortunate accident than a malicious murder.
But now, everything seemed to have been out of control. Her operation had proven to be a failure at the cost of half a dozen of mutants and a team of elite soldiers.
Were they still alive? She would never know!
She suddenly felt ever so regretful and fearful in this moment. She could tell that ahead of her, there was a bottomless abyss. The more she persisted, the deeper she would eventually find herself sunken in.
"I will not take it lying down. I will make sure that you're dead!"
The woman had rosy lips and pretty white teeth, but her gorgeous face had turned rather cold, gloomed by an evident look of murderous intent. She was a disquieted woman.
In the end, she took out her own communicator and rang up a man named Mu.
"Mu… I need your help…"
The night had been especially pleasant for Chu Feng. He slept sound and well. He awoke feeling rested and refreshed, but his instinct was telling him that it must have been a totally different night for that woman. Even if the call had not caused her to feel frightened, she must have at least felt distressed to a certain degree.
No-one would enjoy an ease of mind when their loss was so significant.
Bathing in the morning glow of the rising sun, Chu Feng carried out his usual breathing exercise routine. Warmth ran with his blood through the veins in his body, making him feel as if his whole body had been purified.
Having eaten a rich and sumptuous breakfast, Chu Feng asked Yellow Ox to tag along and venture into the depths of the mountains again. Today, he would follow the guide provided by the map in searching for the magical fruit that would render him many times stronger.
Having arrived at the mountains, Chu Feng went to check on that pile of firearms at first. He then picked one of them and fired a round to test. He needed to ensure that when the time came, he could rely on its firepower to gain an edge over his opponents.
On the hills in the distance, a glow of fire erupted. It was accompanied by a mumble of blaring sounds as the hill fell and the earth split. Acres of ancient trees tumbled down, swirling up a miasma of smogs over in the distance.
"Not bad. The power seemed pretty good. I'm just not sure if this would be enough to shoot Silver Wing out of the sky," Chu Feng murmured.
There was still an uncertainty in how Chu Feng would match up against Silver Wing when a battle between them broke out. Judging by the fact that he could easily take down seven mutants, fighting against one shouldn't be overly complicated.
Having thoroughly learnt how the rocket launchers functioned, Chu Feng hid them properly underground.
The positions marked on the map all belonged to the pre-existent mountains before the upheavals took place. None of them were in the primitive mountains.
Chu Feng and Yellow Ox had a plain sailing. It was not long before they reached their first destination. This was a verdant peak of an average-height mountain.
At the summit, there were a few old pine trees and a few blue stones.
There were letters assigned to this position. It said: Picked.
Chu Feng made a bold conjecture that this would most likely be the site where a strange fruit had once grown. "Picked" just meant that the fruit had been picked by someone else. However, Chu Feng still wanted to stop by to see if there were any further discoveries he could make.
Meanwhile, Yellow Ox seemed to have gravitated towards a rather strange-looking plant.
Chu Feng noticed it too. The plant was gleaming with an appetizing color in a shade of green. Chu Feng could tell that there was an air of vigorous life-essence wrapping around this otherwise ordinary-looking plant.
Observing up close, they realized it was only a plantain. This was a very common subspecies of grass that could literally be found throughout countryside.
However, this particular one had many stripes and veins stretching across its oval-shaped leaves. Had it borne fruit before?
"This one is definitely different. It has much thicker leaves in comparison to an average plantain. These leaves looked as if they had been carved out of a green jade," Chu Feng said.
Unfortunately, despite the evident presence of a stem that supported Chu Feng's conjecture that the grass had once been a fruit-bearer, the fruits had already been plucked. The effect of the fruit would forever remain unknown to them.
Just as Chu Feng was in a muse, contemplating the quality of this particular plant, Yellow Ox bit the grass's stalk in two, and swallowed it whole.
"Demon Ox!" Chu Feng had blown a fuse.
Yellow Ox turned around and looked at Chu Feng in bewilderment. Its expression suggested its profound bafflement.
"Goddamn it! What a reckless waste of God's good gifts! Why did you eat it?!" Chu Feng glared at the calf in fury. Even the expedition team from Deity Biomedical Group had not destroyed its stalk, but instead preserved it to experiment on the possibility of new fruits growing in the future. He could tell their particular interest in the plant by the degree of meticulousness in the way they marked its position on the map.
He had a similar scheme too. He had planned to check on the plant in a few days and see what it could yield.
Yellow Ox showed an innocent look. It simply wrote a few words: "Only a mutated grass. Bear fruit once only."
Chu Feng was in a daze for quite a long time before he recovered. "What a pity." He sighed.
Yellow Ox cracked up.
"What's funny?" Chu Feng glared at the calf.
This time, Yellow Ox wrote a few more words on the ground, divulging a secret.
"The world is changing. Perished rootstocks are waiting to be resurrected."
"Resurrected? What do you mean? They had lived before?" Chu Feng asked.
"It's an opportunity once in a thousand years." These was the last thing Yellow Ox wrote on the ground, then it would not say another word.
Chu Feng could still vaguely remember that Yellow Ox had once admitted that it came to this world in order to be sanctified. What an ambitious scheme!
"What does the rootstock have to do with its scheme?" Chu Feng questioned.
There seemed to be an even grander secret hidden in the world outside. This was what rendered all the monsters residing deep within the primitive mountains eager to rush outside.
Chu Feng dug out what was left from the plantain. If it was no longer capable of bearing fruit, there was no need for him to be discreet about it. He wanted to perform anatomy on this strange plant and see what had really induced the change to this plant to occur.
To his surprise, he did find something odd on the plant's root. There were a few grains of odd-looking substance tightly coiled up by a thatch of entangling roots.
The grains looked purple, glittering with a conspicuous glow.
"Are these the cause of mutation?" He grew a bit doubtful.
Yellow Ox also looked in, but he also seemed to be clueless about these purple grains.
"Whatever. I will take it with me then."
Later on, the duo went to three other different locations separately, but unfortunately, all that were left was an empty stalk of a mutated plant.
But to his surprise, Chu Feng did find a nail-sized grain glittering with a different color on the roots of each of the stalk. Some appeared crimson, while the other looked beryl; they neither looked nor felt the same as the soil surrounding it.
These grains were also coiled up by a thatch of entangling roots. They seemed to possess some sort of essence with them.
Just like this, Chu Feng managed to collect four tiny grains of colored soil, with each bearing a different hue. He wrapped them carefully in a cloth.
"With these grains, my three little seeds will be able to take roots and spread." Chu Feng was rather excited. He wanted to know what the seeds would grow into.
He was also quite expectant. They were found in a mysterious stone box at the foot of Kunlun Mountains, so no matter what they would become in the end, their origins were undeniably the oddest of all.
Chu Feng unfolded the map. There was still one place left to be discovered. It was also the in the center of the map, labelled with a black skull.
Did this mean that the place was extremely dangerous?
He had heard from various sources that there was indeed a strange tree in Taihang Mountains. It had borne fruit, but the fruit was yet to be ripe. This had prompted mutants from across the globe to partake in this joint effort in search for this legendary tree.
Chu Feng suspected that the place labelled with the black skull would most likely be the position where the tree had grown.
"Many days have passed. Some mutants must have arrived already in hopes of snatching the fruit. Very soon, Taihang Mountains would be a battleground for the fighting experts to challenge each other with brute force," Chu Feng conjectured.
He resumed his journey, and Yellow Ox followed. He wanted to go and observe how the fights would go; if opportunity allowed, he might even join the fight and claim what he deserved.
On his way there, he noticed the trails left by other mutants. Chu Feng carefully maneuvered his body around the trees and tracks as stealthily as possible.
"How come it could be here?" Chu Feng was taken aback.
The Mountain of White Snake!
This region could qualify as one of the most mystical amongst all.
It was said that a white snake had once been living on this mountain. No-one knew how long it had been living for. However, the air of mystery had always been lingering in these mountains, giving birth to many legends and fables alike.
However, many people would not believe its existence, because the last witness of the snake had died over a decade ago. All the witnesses had made several claims during their lifetimes that the snake they sighted was at least a hundred meters in length.
However, these claims further removed the credibility of the story. The largest serpent known to men was no longer than a few dozens of meters.
"Wait, be careful!" Chu Feng and Yellow Ox hastily shunned aside.
There were a few mutants guarding the entrance to the mountain. In addition, he also saw a familiar face—Zuo Jun.
"That tree must be here!" Chu Feng asserted.