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Chu Feng got up early in the morning. Waking up early had been a habit for him. He bathed in the crimson sunlight, breathing rhythmically. For him, this had been a mandatory routine.
Chu Feng felt invigorated. There were many mysterious lines crawling on his skin. The lines had the same color as the essence of fire and sun. They were golden and warm, making Chu Feng feel at ease.
Then, he started the thunderous breathing exercise. This exercise was a loud one. His body rumbled like a thunder cloud. His blood and his flesh resonated then burst out thousands of eye-piercing rays.
"I hope that the ancient temple in Himalayas stores the entire set of the thunderous breathing rhythm," Chu Feng mumbled to himself.
Soon, his morning exercise was done.
Nowadays, Chu Feng was a powerful fighter. The number of people who could prove to be competent enough to fight with him could be counted on one’s fingers. Although Chu Feng’s current competence wouldn’t allow him to fight with people like the old llama or the mastiff king, Chu Feng was confident that soon he would be competent enough to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them.
And the thunderous breathing rhythm was the key for him to achieve that!
After breakfast, Chu Feng noticed that w.a.n.g Jing had already begun prepping him for the blind-date. Chu Feng immediately felt the headache, and the best thing to do now was for him to run away. "Mom, I’m going to the Hollow Jade Temple!" Chu Feng shouted with one of his feet already outside the door.
"Hurry home after you’re done seeing Lu Tong. Hurry home, so we can get you ready for the blind-date! There is no room for you to dodge the bullet this time, Chu Feng!"
Hollow Jade Temple
When the people in Hollow Jade Temple saw that their hero, Chu Feng, came back from the battlefield, the looks in their eyes suddenly became intense. It was as if they were witnessing the unearthing of a national treasure. Everyone quickly ran up to Chu Feng and hemmed him in.
"G.o.d Chu, long time no see, you’re finally back! We’ve been talking about you every day lately, especially after watching you slaying that dragon at the foot of Kunlun Mountain. It felt like we’re witnessing the fulfilment of an impossible feat! It made all of us feel as if our blood were boiling!"
"G.o.d Chu, I heard some people were saying that you are the one who ranked those western beasts in terms of tastiness of their meat. Is that true?!"
Chu Feng was surrounded by over-zealous people. Every one of them wanted some answers from him. Chu Feng tried to answer their questions, but new questions just kept coming in.
For example, some people asked about the flavor of dragon meat. For this, Chu Feng didn’t answer. Instead, he gave them a bag of dragon meat jerk. This stirred up quite a commotion in the office, attracting even more people to gather around him. Those who tasted the dragon meat couldn’t stop commending the tastiness of the meat.
"Is this dragon meat? Oh my goodness! I’m eating dragon meat!"
"G.o.d Chu, I heard that the entire Vatican City was levelled to the ground. Were you the person who did that?"
Chu Feng was bombarded with questions. In the end, he had to flee out of people’s encirclement and into Lu Tong’s office helter-skelter.
Lu Tong, the old man, was aware of everything that was happening outside his office. He had been waiting. Lu Tong couldn’t stay calm either. As soon as Chu Feng burst into his office, Lu Tong asked, "Have you brought any dragon blood with you?"
"Nope, no dragon blood. But I have quite a sizeable amount of dragon meat for you. Here! Catch it!" Chu Feng hurled a large baggage at Lu Tong.
"Oh, jeez! Dragon meat for me?!" Lu Tong looked very high in spirits. He clenched hi
s fist and said, "This has significant importance to research!"
However, his high spirit was immediately crushed after he unwrapped the baggage and was greeted by a lump of soggy mouldy jerk sluggishly slouching on top of the wrapping paper. His high spirit plummeted into disappointment and sorrow. He was having a tantrum.
"Well, if you don’t appreciate it, then I’ll give it to someone who does!" Chu Feng started wrapping the meat again.
A quarter o’clock later, Lu Tong’s office was suffused with the aroma of a good wine.
Lu Tong had come a long way during the last fifteen minutes. He went from a grumpy old man who was just sitting there, glaring at Chu Feng, to later taking his first bite of the dragon jerk, and this one single bite was all there was for him to become addicted to it. He took out a hundred-year wine and invited Chu Feng to drink and eat with him.
Chu Feng was dumbfounded. His eyes were fixed on that jar of wine. He could tell that within that jar, there was indeed a pool of century-old wine. This was way too extravagant for the occasion, but it wasn’t as if Lu Tong were lacking any of these old and expensive wine on his shelves.
"I can smell corruption just by looking through what was in that shelf of yours!"
"Corruption? Well, it’s all thanks to you. You see, I didn’t buy these wines with my own money. Someone else did and gave them to me as gifts. Well, the truth was, these gifts were all meant for you, but you know what, I think I have every right to help you empty a few jars," Lu Tong shamelessly said.
"Gifts meant for me? Why? Who were the senders of these gifts?" Chu Feng looked confused.
"Those big companies and the country’s tyc.o.o.ns, of course. Who else do you think? These big companies heard that you were back in town. They are like sharks who are always on the look-out for the smell of blood in the sea, and your return to the city was just the right smell that would attract pretty much every shark there is in the pool. They couldn’t find you though, so they came to Hollow Jade Temple with their big gifts and fancy letters in hopes that you can work for them," Lu Tong said.
The spotlight had always been on Chu Feng for the past few months, especially after he rose from the "dead" a few weeks ago before proceeding to killing a dragon with five severed shackles then to starting a Western Punitive Expedition. These achievements were enough to make those big companies go zealous about him.
Many big companies had tried to reach out to Chu Feng when he was still in Kunlun, so they found Lu Tong instead. They wanted him to be the broker connecting them and Chu Feng.
Lu Tong brought Chu Feng on a tour around the building. The rooms had all been filled with dazzling gifts from these big companies.
"I’ve pledged my loyalty to Hollow Jade Temple, so I won’t join them," Chu Feng said.
"Well, you don’t have to. Some of these gifts are just a gesture of their goodwill. It means that they want to be friends with you rather than enemies. None of these presents is binding you to any moral obligations. You don’t have to feel bad if you don’t want to join them. It’s okay," Lu Tong said.
The gifts ranged from good wine to book that teaches fist positions. There were also all kinds of weapons. However, Chu Feng went through the list of all the gifts he had received, but there was nothing that he found particularly useful.
Those fist positions books were mostly fragmentary. Hollow Jade Temple had similar collections of these books. The tiger fist position of Yixing Boxing Style, for example, was found hiding among that stack of gifts, but a more thorough and more comprehensive version of the same style could be found in an underground library that belonged to Hollow Jade Temple, and Chu Feng had already known how to practice it.
Books that teach the entire set of a particular boxing style rarely existed, and even if there was one, it was almost impossible to find. And because of its rarity, barely anyone would send it to others as a gift.
"Is this it?" Chu Feng asked.
"They tried to send us women as well. At first, I thought these women were here to deliver the gifts, but then I noticed that some of them wanted to stay. But in a time when everyone advocates for gender equality, I think it’s quite terrible to see some women are still being traded as commodities. So, in the end, I freed those women and made them go away," Lu Tong said.
"Oh, for goodness sake, why did you do that?! I’m cutting ties with you, old man!"
Lu Tong looked flabbergasted, then he said, "Are you for nuts? Why do you think it’s okay to accept women as gifts, you shameless b.a.s.t.a.r.d?!"
The two drank and chattered.
"It’s very bold of you to strike the Vatican City with nuclear weapons. Many European countries have voiced their concerns. They think you’re a dangerous man!" Lu Tong said.
"What? Why is everyone bringing false charges against me? Why is everyone trying to frame an innocent person? I didn’t nuke the Vatican City! Where on earth did that come from?" Chu Feng a.s.serted.
Lu Tong threw him a look of contempt and said, "Stop lying to my face. I know exactly all the crimes you’re guilty of. Things like this don’t need evidence or proof. People’s guess is as good as the truth."
But of course, even if people knew exactly who the culprit was, no-one could barely do anything about it, especially in the east where people were clapping their hands, praising Chu Feng for his bravery.
"I don’t know if I should be scared of you, Chu Feng. How did you manage to stir up all that storm by yourself? Oh, and about that ranking list you made. Are you still making changes and updates to that list? Well, if you do, I strongly advise you to make dragon meat as the first entry to that list!" Lu Tong said.
"Nope, I’m NOT the person responsible for that list either!"
"Lies! All lies!" Lu Tong said in a contemptuous tone.
The reason that these big companies were reaching out to Chu Feng was that they knew that he was the person responsible for all the chaos in the West. Chu Feng was a truly terrifying fighter.
Chu Feng smelt like a drunkard. He planned to go for a stroll around the place after his brunch with Lu Tong, but he quickly abandoned the idea.
Chu Feng peeked out from behind Lu Tong’s office door, but there was a huge crowd of people waiting outside. They were all men dressed in Western suit and leather shoes. Obviously, these people came from all the tyc.o.o.ns in the country. Their eyes were constantly on a look-out for Chu Feng, eager to rope him in.
Chu Feng quietly shrank back from the front door of the office. "Give me that hundred-year-old wine, I’ll be out of here through your back door!" Chu Feng said to Lu Tong.
"Dad! I brought you some good wine for tonight’s dinner!" Chu Feng managed to sneak home unnoticed.
"We’re not having dinner at home tonight, son! Your blind-date is at 7 tonight!" w.a.n.g Jing told Chu Feng.
"Mom! I can’t just show up at a blind-date like this! People know me. Some may know me as a hero, but many see me as a cold-blooded murderer! I won’t have much of a chance of succeeding in a blind-date, so why are we still wasting time on this?! And what if my enemy tries to use this opportunity to harm me? You know, they can disguise themselves as some potential love interest of mine to approach me, and then before you know it, I’ll get stabbed in the back by some wicked and merciless b.a.s.t.a.r.ds when it’s least expected!" Chu Feng tried to make the idea of a blind-date as undesirable as he could.
"Well, we’ve thought about this already. I’ve entrusted a headhunting company with the task of finding you a proper love interest. They will find you someone with a clean history and background, someone who can fall in love with easily. And, by the way, when they find us your potential love interest in the end, don’t just rush into the blind date …"
Chu Feng was flabbergasted by his mom’s arrangement. "Mom! Stop! It’s just a blind date. What does a headhunting company have anything to do with any of these? Please! Stop, mom!"
He also wanted to shout, "Why would I rush into a blind date with someone I know absolutely nothing of?! When have I ever rushed into such a thing before?!" But the words didn’t come out of his mouth.
"Take it easy, son. They promised they would find us someone eventually!" w.a.n.g Jing said.
"Nope! I don’t think it’s a good idea to have a headhunting company involved in this! Objection!" Chu Feng was full of resentment. He did not want anyone to a.s.sociate the name Chu Feng with the impression as someone who was so lacking in social skills that he would have to depend on his mom to find himself a girlfriend. Although this impression was true to a certain extent, Chu Feng did not want anyone to know about it.
In the evening, w.a.n.g Jing shouted, "Feng, let’s go! Time to leave!"
"Where are we going?"
"A blind-date party!" w.a.n.g Jing proudly exclaimed.
w.a.n.g Jing’s efficiency made Chu Feng speechless. Three hours ago, w.a.n.g Jing started from contacting companies whose specialized service was in blind date arrangement, then she found some information about this blind-date party; and just then, she signed up for this party and paid for the entrance ticket on his son’s behalf. This entire process only took her about three hours. It was impressive!
"Before you freak out, hear me out. This blind-date party is no ordinary blind-date party. It’s called a ‘diamond-level blind date party’. A lot of people wanted to enter the party, but only a few tickets were available. Fortunately, I’ve got this friend who knows the person in charge of this party, and through this relation, I’ve bought you the ticket!"
According to w.a.n.g Jing, only the richest men and the most beautiful women could attend the party, and that’s why it’s called the "diamond-level blind date party".
Chu Feng’s eyelids couldn’t stop twitching. The more he learnt about this party, the more unsure he felt about this event. "Who on earth would host a party like this?" Chu Feng couldn’t help doubting.
"I was also told that this party was pretty much like a masquerade. Apparently, some studies had showm that young people preferred talking to each other with a mask on, whether it’s online or in real life; and because people like this sense of mystery behind everything, the host said that only those who’ve found their true love in this event could take off their masks before kissing his lover! Otherwise, you can keep your mask on throughout the night!"
The sun had already set, and the clock was about to strike six. Chu Feng had arrived at the twenty-ninth floor of the Moyun Mansion. His face was behind a mask, and he was ready to enter the venue.
"See? I’ve thought through everything carefully for you. In this way, you won’t be recognized by anyone. Why have I never heard anything about this blind-date party before? It came up to me just when I was searching for it this afternoon. I think this is fate calling, son. Fate hosted this party just for you, son!" w.a.n.g Jing said with a smile.
"Oh! Is this an inflated ego I’m smelling over here! A party hosted just for you? How narcissistic!"
A woman in a queen mask walked up to them from behind. She had overheard the conversation when she pa.s.sed them by. No-one could see her face through that mask, but her eyes were truly stunning. Her body shape was just as equally beautiful. She was tall and lanky, and she looked even taller on that pair of high-heels.
"Feng, listen to me! Never marry a woman who is as indecent as her. NEVER!" w.a.n.g Jing said to her son. They were at the entrance to the venue. w.a.n.g Jing couldn’t enter the venue without a ticket, so she was heading for a next-door lounge.
But who’ve thought that w.a.n.g Jing’s second remark was overheard by that woman again. She turned around and gave Chu Feng a sweet smile. Her charming eyes blinked as she said to Chu Feng, "Hey, handsome! Let’s go in and have a chat together. Maybe we can get married right after tonight’s event."
"Sure," Chu Feng responded. He and the woman entered the venue together.
"Hey, did you listen to what I said?!" w.a.n.g Jing jabbed at Chu Feng on the back of his head.
"Yes, yes, mom! Set your mind at rest and go help yourself at that lounge over there! Goodbye!" Chu Feng went straight into the venue.
"Remember what I said to you!" w.a.n.g Jing shouted. She wished that she could make her way into venue along with her son so that she could always keep an eye on him. She was worried that her son’s judgement and principle might easily surrender to the temptation posed by a gorgeous and flirtatious woman.
However, that woman only walked a short distance with Chu Feng. She left him as soon as they were out of w.a.n.g Jing’s view.
However, what astounded her was that Chu Feng didn’t seem to care at all when she left him. This made her quite resentful. It also made her curious.
Chu Feng’s eyes were looking at the back view of a gorgeous woman in the distance. Chu Feng seemed confused. He murmured to himself, "This is impossible. A king with six severed shackles will attend an event like this?"
He hesitated a little, then he walked straight for that woman. He wanted to get to the heart of the matter and see what was actually going on. He even doubted that he might have made a mistake.
The venue was very big. When he reached where the woman was seconds ago, she was already gone.
"It shouldn’t be her!" Chu Feng a.s.serted after careful deliberation. He noticed that although the back view of that woman looked familiar, Chu Feng couldn’t quite "feel" the presence of a king. Normally, with a king present in a closed s.p.a.ce like this, the entire room should be filled with the energy of a king.
"Lu s.h.i.+yun, stop eating so much. This is a blind date, not an eating compet.i.tion," a tall and hefty man said. He was in a mask as well. Beside him, there was a young girl dressed in a suit of white.
"Hey, brother. This is not my blind date. It’s yours. And I’m only here to keep your company!" the girl in white said. She was still munching away at the food on the table.
"You’re way too voracious. Last time at Taihang, you ate someone’s skewered mutton, and what turned out in the end…"
"Shut up, White Tiger! We’ve agreed that we would never talk about that again!" The girl seemed a little fl.u.s.tered and exasperated.
On the ground floor of Moyun Mansion, a tall and lanky lady reluctantly put on a mask before entering the elevator.
"Luoshen, this isn’t really a blind date. It’s more of a party. I don’t understand why you seem so resistant to it. I heard that this blind-date party is great fun. You see, instead of getting bored to death when you are at home, why wouldn’t you join in the fun?"
"Hopefully, this is going to be fun in a good way."