Chapter 10: The Seismic Shift
Translator: Mike Editor: Chrissy
Dense fog suffused the air while vines as thick as an arm listlessly hung amidst it. Under the guise of the gloomy weather, the world became a picturesque scene depicting the surrealistic mixture of fact and fantasy. As one's ability to see had been prevented, their perception of truthful reality was intertwined with unreal fantasy.
It was an immense artificial satellite entangled by many vines. It had landed on the train car with great precision, yet now, it was but a lifeless mass, stranded here in muteness.
This was a striking scene indeed. After all, it was a satellite. It was not something that earthly beings could witness striking down from the sky everyday. It had been programmed to stay on its orbit, but then what made it fall?
A shudder ran down the backs of both Chu Feng and Zhou Quan. Their initial astonishment had given way to terror and fright. They could not help but raise their heads once again, looking into the bleakness above in great perplexity. What was there, they wondered, in high and above, that decreed the happening of all the calamities they were witnessing.
"Don't tell me that you believe that these vines are actually hanging from the vault of heaven." There was a certain rasp in Zhou Quan's voice and a look that seemed harassed and drawn.
Zhou Quan could hardly believe what he was witnessing. It was too surreal for him to be certain.
Chu Feng kept his muteness. He came nearer the vines and peered through the green vines. He looked carefully, again and again; then at last, he grew certain that this was a satellite indeed.
"What is actually happening?" Zhou Quan had never felt so confused.
Chu Feng debated whether staying here for any longer would do any good. He mused, then he realized that he and Zhou Quan had not been hearing any words from anyone for this long. So, at long last, he decided to leave for the others.
"Hey lad, what're you doing?" Zhou Quan was finally out of his trance. He saw Chu Feng fondling with the vines, so in curiosity, he asked.
"I want to go to visit the vault of heaven." Chu Feng replied.
"How do you still have the mood to joke around here? I'm almost scared shxtless," Zhou Quan cursed under his breath.
Zhou Quan had always had a benevolent and kind countenance. His face had always looked joyous, and the more one looked at it, the more it resembled to a Maitreya Buddha.
But today was not one of those days. As the floodgates to an outbreak of upheavals and strange events had been seemingly opened by some mystical forces in nature, Zhou Quan could no longer situate himself in this disorderly world with a positive and indifferent attitude. He was mystified, and at the same time, he was profoundly scared about all these clutters and chaos he had witnessed.
"Boost me up. I want to take a look up there," Chu Feng said. He wanted to reach higher to give the satellite a better examination.
"No, no, no. I don't think it's a wise choice. Everything to me seemed all too dangerous. This is a bloody satellite dropped out of the sky for god-knows-what reason. I know you just said you wanted to visit the vault of heaven, but I don't reckon this is exactly the way to go, man," Zhou Quan mumbled in objection. He was worried about Chu Feng's safety.
"It's okay. I just want to know what's up there. I won't climb up too high though. I can take care of myself." Before having hardly finished speaking, Chu Feng had already mounted himself onto the entangling vines. His superb stamina and agility proved themselves advantageous in a situation like this. In the blink of an eye, Chu Feng had already reached a few meters of height.
At this time, Chu Feng was completely inundated by the fog around him. He had become hardly visible to those watching from sea level. Visibility was very poor.
"Hey man! You're alright there?" Zhou Quan shouted from down below.
"All good!" Zhou Quan answered. He climbed up in full gallop for dozens of meters before he finally stopped.
"The vines here has become thicker and bigger. They are hanging vertically, going straight up and down. It seems very unlikely that their roots originate from the mountains at the flank. It indeed looks like they are hanging down from the sky." Chu Feng frowned.
"This is unbelievable. How did such a shocking event manage to occur overnight?"
Then, he recalled the news he had seen earlier. Those trees and the other hovering plants that appeared in the space were all species that belonged to Earth. The strange contrast between the empty deep space and the luxuriant foliage of these plants prompted many thoughts on Chu Feng's mind.
Chu Feng slid down along the vines; for him to go even higher was an unnecessary risk to take.
"I'd like us to leave this place right now," Zhou Quan suggested. "I feel a little creeped out just by standing here."
Chu Feng nodded. The train was beached, and their communicators had yet to regain connections to the outside world. He felt that they needed to come up with something that could help them leave this area before the situation suddenly took a left turn.
This succession of strange encounters was unsettling to say the least, so they couldn't just passively wait here.
"Oh Gosh! What am I looking at?" Suddenly, an outcry broke out.
The few other vigorous and robust young men had also climbed on top of the train car. They saw that fallen satellite as well. Everyone became so awed at the sight of it that no-one could hardly speak.
They looked as if they had seen a ghost. Their faces were all stiffened.
Soon, this news began circulating in the carriage. Having heard the news, many of them jerked upright in surprise. Clearly, the discovery of a satellite on top of the train had caused quite a sensation along with panic among the passengers. Everyone got off the train. Weeping and blubbering were mixed with all kinds of noise. People could no longer persist on their calm and composure.
Incidents and disturbances would most likely happen in a disorderly situation. But then, who would be able to preserve public order in such circumstances? Train attendants and other crew members had all become muddled and stunned, living in a haze of bewilderment. They were at a loss of what to do.
"How is that ancient doing?" Chu Feng asked.
"Quite dead, or what else can he be?" Zhou Quan replied. "I went to check on the body just then, and I heard someone saying that it might not be an ancient. He was carrying a communicator."
"Really?" Chu Feng was rather surprised at this. He had seen everything about that body. His costume was not a mere retro imitation of the past. It embodied an authentic archaic rhyme.
"There's no point in overthinking right now. Hurry! Let's go," Zhou Quan urged. He wanted to leave without sparing even a single second at this place.
Meanwhile, everyone else was hurriedly taking actions as well. They were just as keen on leaving this place as Zhou Quan was.
Chu Feng weighed the black dagger in his hand, thinking how a one-inch dagger could weigh this much. Its density could easily beat that of any other metals known to him, and this had truly truly prompted him to raise many questions.
"What about that man's communicator? Where is it? I want to see who he had been contacting."
However, Chu Feng's wish could not be realized. With these many people hustling around in panic, the whereabouts of that communicator had long been forgotten.
Chu Feng and Zhou Quan did not hold up for any longer. Before long, they hit the road again.
Hordes and hordes of people started leaving. Everyone was in each other's close company, slowly walking towards the nearest town.
Chu Feng and Zhou Quan walked along the railway track. Zhou Quan had grown quite familiar with this pathway after many itinerary journey he had spent travelling between the west and the east. According to him, a town should be right within a dozen li.
"Oh, f*ck me! Who did this? No wonder our train got stuck there. Bloody hell!" Zhou Quan became all furious.
There was a section of the railway track disjointed in the middle. This gaping disjunction could mean a major accident for any trains that ran on this line.
"Wait a minute! This is not right!"
The two walked another two li before they saw another disconnection on the railway track. However, this time, the site of disconnection looked quite odd. It did not look like the work of someone's intentional vandalism, so what caused this?
"Do you see it? Doesn't it seem strange to you?"
With a solemn look on his face, Zhou Quan carefully examined the site of disconnection again and again.
The ground itself seemed to have been stretched by some mysterious force in the direction of the track. The increased length of the ground that the railway track had to cover subsequently led to these various points of disconnection.
The two stared at each other in disbelief. How did the land spread and expand on itself, becoming an area larger than before?
"Maybe, it's the result of earthquakes?" Zhou Quan said.
However, they had not experienced any earthquakes of any magnitudes whatsoever earlier on that day, so the possibility of an earthquake was quickly eliminated. But then, how else could anyone explain this?
The two's skin prickled with apprehension.
As they continued forward, they heard a series of splintering sounds as they watched sections of the track being pulled in opposite direction as the ground underneath exponentially expanded.
As they were seeing this scene happening in action, they were amazed, shocked, dumbfounded, and shaking their heads in disbelief. Zhou Quan was gaping at it, lost for words. Chu Feng was, too, watched it happen with open-mouthed incredulity.
"Un-f*cking-believable!" Zhou Quan screamed out as he finally regained his ability to talk.
"Hurry up! Let's go! This is quite an unstable region. We've got to run now!" Zhou Quan exclaimed as he hastened his pace.
Despite his chubbiness, Zhou Quan had shown his exceptional stamina when he clambering over the train. Although he was panting and puffing during this rapid sprinting session, he did not call for a single break throughout the few li they ran for.
"Uh? What does the road stop here?"
There was a mountain lying across the track, barring their way.
What they thought was the strangest was that after the railway track had led its way here, it seemed as if the mountain had crashed on top of it. And in truth, this really was the case. As they dug away the earth, the section that had been buried underneath the mountain became visible.
This was profoundly strange even for Chu Feng, let alone for Zhou Quan. They were astounded: how did this happen? How come, out of nowhere, a mountain appeared to repress the progression of this railway track.
"Are you certain that there is a town ahead of us?" Chu Feng asked.
"I'm more than certain!" Zhou Quan answered. He swore that he had never seen this mountain before. To him, the mountain seemed to have cropped up out of the void and decided to lie right on top of the railway track,
"There're no other way for us to do this beside clambering over it," Zhou Quan said, "I want to know that as we exit from the other side, are we going to be put into another unknown world or what."
"No, let's just go around it. It's not far at all." Chu Feng held him back.
Zhou Quan was a bit unwilling to reconcile to this idea. He genuinely wanted to explore the root of this mountain. He wanted to know where it had come from and how it could appear out of thin air.
A deafening roar, which sounded from this imposing mountain, shocked and quivered the entire mountain forest. Clearly, there was a dreadful beast residing on this mountain.
"How is this possible? This beast's roar is a bit too terrifying, don't you think? But according to what I'm informed, there shouldn't be any large beasts in this district. Where does this one come from?" Zhou Quan smacked his lips but did not utter a word of his thought.
His intention of clambering over the mountain was quenched by the latent horror that resided in this mountain. He surrendered to Chu Feng's proposal.
During their detour around the mountain, they still heard the startling roar of that beast frequently. Then, he heard someone screeching in shrill cries.
"Someone was trying to climb over the mountain!" Zhou Quan's face was as pale as a sheet. He was grateful that he heeded Chu Feng's advice.
At long last, the two managed to reach the other side of the mountain. They continued to walk alongside the train track in order to get to the town.
At the same time, they became more and more shuddered with fear. The distance between each fragmented railway track started increasing, suggesting that the earth's surface was getting vaster and vaster.
What had supposed to be a ten mile journey now felt like twenty.
Fortunately, they arrived at the town safely and soundly.
Meanwhile, the fog finally started dissipating, but the sun was yet to shine. It stayed hidden behind something.
"There it is." the looks on Chu Feng's face shifted as he saw those whips and whips of vines drooping from a main stem. The stem was covered behind a luxuriant layer of lush leaves. Its immensity was unparalleled by any plants growing in nature.
The vegetation blotted out the sky and covered the sun. The entire town was being overlooked by its leafy expanse.
After the fog had all dispersed, the citizens of this small town also sighted this grotesque of a scene. Panic and fear suddenly spread across the town.
"Run! We must run now!" Zhou Quan roared.
In fact, many people had already started running. A car after another, loaded with people, fled from the town.
"No, we must hitchhike someone's car to get us out of here," Chu Feng said.
"Hitchhike? It's time to hijack!" Zhou Quan vented out an assertive shout.
Nonetheless, someone did give them a life in the end. A middle-aged man drove them out of the town into the distance.
Surprisingly, communication finally restored after the fog had all dissipated.
Chu Feng turned on his communicator at once, anxious to know about anything that would strike him as odd.
"Oh God! Mount Song, Wangwu Mountain, Luofushan Mountain and many other famous mountains all had encounters with many kinds of strange occurrences. Even the rocks had streams of purple light drifting on them."
Zhou Quan gave off a queer sounded yelp of cry as he found this exact piece of news. He could not believe that so many major events could have happened overnight!
"Wait, what? Here look! 'Someone... developed a pair of silver wings?' After eating a silver fruit growing on an ordinary-looking tree on the road?" Having read this piece of news, Zhou Quan said nothing but sat there as if in a trance.
The world was in the process of a sequence of rapid seismic shifts! This was the most immediate feeling that struck Chu Feng after reading many of the news reports. 5 Best Chinese Romance Books of 2018 So Far