Chapter 27 - The Ape in the Dream
One month quickly passed.
The Kai Yuan Martial Arts School finally announced the date of the enrollment test, and the venue was Guang Ling Valley in the eastern suburb of the city.
As soon as the news was made public, all the practitioners in the Kai Yuan Prefecture were excited, and a constant stream of practitioners could be seen flowing into the city.
Meanwhile, the sheriff of Feng City issued an exceedingly strict martial law which stipulated that all practitioners should behave themselves and not create disturbances in the city. The law was to be in effect from three months before till three months after the enrollment test. Offenders would be punished according to their misconducts: lighter offences should be punished by forcing the offender to wear heavy armor for the rest of the period and offenders of heavy crimes would be executed right on the spot.
Groups of rather imposing armoured soldiers began to appear at various streets of the city, all armed with a spear and a bow.
In response to this, gangs and clans also began to manage their members strictly, forbidding them to trifle with practitioners from other districts.
On the other side of the city, Shi Mu did not leave his suburban manor during the past month, practicing blade and fist arts during the day, and sleeping soundly through the night. He appeared as though he had really thrown away all thoughts of taking part in the enrollment test.
A young white ape was having a good time with some other ten grey apes on a mountain, jumping and chasing each other over the hilltops.
At dusk, when the sun began to set, the grey apes all went to a huge stone cave to sleep, while the white one was still quite energetic: he remained outside the cave, and climbed up a large tree on a certain hilltop without any difficulty. Once he reached the top he sat down on a small branch and looked up to watch the silver moon in the sky, sitting completely motionless.
Then a shocking scene took place.
The white ape had just barely sat on the branch for a moment, when glittering white lights began to appear faintly in the night sky, flickering like glowworms.
The white ape blinked his eyes, which turned his originally black and white eyes into golden eyes!
At this time, though there was no wind, the dense dots of white light began to move by themselves, flooding toward the ape's golden eyes like a never ending ocean of light.
An inexplicable sense of comfort penetrated the ape's body, making it grin broadly and dance on the branch with excitement.
"Peng!" A loud noise was heard.
Shi Mu woke up in his bed, sweating so much his shirt was soaked. His face was ghastly pale, as though he had been exercising fiercely.
"The seventh time! What is this dream trying to tell me? I've had the same dream for seven days in a row, I know somethings up now!"
Shi Mu wiped the sweat on his forehead, and his eyes gave off a lackluster appearence while he murmured to himself.
The strange dream had been occurring every night for the past seven days. In the dream, he would always turn into a white ape, jumping in the woods and chasing after his companions, as if he was the leader of the whole pack.
But the previous six dreams had always snapped when he - then the white ape - had gone to rest with his companions in the cave; but this time was different, this time he was left outside the cave and subsequently climbed to a branch. That was when the strange scene occurred.
"What is this about? Could it be that the blood of the stone monkey is causing trouble inside my body? It's possible, because I am dreaming of an ape. It never happened before I got Qi-Sensing..... Is it possible that my break-through is the cause of this?"
Shi Mu sank into a thoughtful mood.
Just then, he looked up and was shocked to find that the paper windows, which should have been sealed, had been blown open by the wind, at some unknown time, and moonlight was coming through, almost covering his entire bed.
Instantly, Shi Mu thought of the moon he had seen in his dream. His color changed as he made the association.
The next moment, he got out of his bed and walked to the door. He pushed it open and walked outside.
The yard outside his room was illuminated with moonlight. Raising his head, he looked up and saw a half moon in the sky. Tonight the moon was different than normal. He felt that it was more majestic and serene than normal. He stared at the half moon for a long time until, then he lowered his head and again glanced over the yard.
There was an old half-dead tree in one corner of the yard, it looked to be a little over seventeen meters tall, but few leaves remained on it. The tree was obviously dying.
Shi Mu narrowed his eyes and closely observed the half-dead tree for a while before an idea dawned on him, which drove him to walk up to the tree.
The thick truck was easy for Shi Mu to climb. With no difficulty he reached the top of the tree, and then rest his feet on a thick branch and knelt down on it. Raising his head, he realized that the posture he was taking now was exactly the same as that of the white ape's posture in his dream!
Shi Mu could not believe his own eyes!
But from this angle, the moon seemed somewhat bigger and brighter. Shi Mu waited for something to take place.
But as time flowed on, nothing happened.
The youth smiled bitterly to himself, mocking his own foolishness. Who would wake up during the night and climb to a tree, imitating a beast instead of sleeping? If he was seen by the servants, they would think he was a lunatic.
With this thought on his mind, he prepared to jumped down from the branch.
But just as he was to move, a deafening sound boomed in his head, and his whole body froze, as if glued to the branch. His eyes were unwillingly locked on the moon.
Now, even Shi Mu had begun to question his own sanity!
Passing into a strange, dreamlike state, he turned into the white ape, from his dream, again, his eyes wide open to receive the falling glittering lights from the sky. At this moment, he felt intense burning and refreshing cooling in his eyes, both happening at once.
Unlike the previous dream, though his body was that of an ape, his mind was perfectly lucid, and he was cognizant of the fact that he was in a dream.
What frightened him was that, no matter how hard he tried, his body was unable to be moved an inch, as if his consciousness was now confined inside the ape's body. However terrified, Shi Mu could only stay like this on the branch.
After an unknown amount of time, the ape finally moved, after which he resumed his control of his own body.
Shi Mu was overjoyed by the fact he had control of his body again, but before he had time to try to move the ape's body, a loud booming sound made him subconsciously close his eyes.
The next moment, when he reopened his eyes, he was dumbstruck to find himself still on the branch, looking up at the sky. Only now he was in his human form and his shirt was wet with morning dew. The sky was now turning bright, the originally high moon only faintly visible.