Castle Of Black Iron - Volume 1 - Chapter 12
Zhang Tie felt his heart beating excitedly on the road home, his right hand is firmly placed inside the pocket of his pants. Earlier on, as he was picked up the two pieces of yellow iron ore, he managed to catch a glimpse of the center of one of the pieces. There is a circular beautifully patterned object that is slightly smaller than a chicken egg embedded in it.
If the ore wasn't forcefully smashed on the ground causing it to break, it is likely that no one will ever discover the object within it. With a look, one will know that the object is not naturally formed. Base on how long it takes for the ground to form a yellow iron ore, Zhang Tie guessed that the object might be at least ten million years old...
Ten million years ago...
Not a naturally formed object...
A beautiful pattern...
As the information is being processed in Zhang Tie's mind, he suddenly felt his heart skipped a beat.
In the beginning of his journey home, Zhang Tie is still able to maintain a calm and composed pace but as he gets closer and closer to home. He can no longer supress his excitement and began to quicken his steps finally breaking into a run.
Although running, Zhang Tie continued to keep his hand inside his pocket, tightly holding on to the piece of ore afraid that it will fell off. Not sure if it is due to his nervousness, Zhang Tie begin to feel the ore in his hand slowly becoming hotter and hotter.
When he finally reached home, Zhang Tie's mother is inside the kitchen making a batch of rice wine. As she heard Zhang Tie's hurried steps, she said without turning her head ’’I have kept dinner for you. It is still warm, you should eat it before it gets cold!’’
’’Mum, I already had dinner outside’’ Zhang Tie rushed upstairs after replying.
Today his brother isn't around, making home much more peaceful and quiet. After pulling down the stairs and entering his lodge in the attic, he pulled up the stairs and use the attached bolt to lock it.
After lighting his lamp, he closed the curtains and covered the window with a wooden partition meant to insulate against the cold during the winter. When the whole lodge consist of only Zhang Tie and without worrying about other people seeing him. He finally relaxed and set his butt on his bed heavily panting.
Despite his rough panting, Zhang Tie impatiently took out the ore from his pocket and placed it under the lamp, using the light for closer inspection. As he looks at it, his eyes became glued and didn't move...
The object embedded in the middle of the ore is an oval shaped crystal that looks like an egg. The exterior of the crystal egg has some complicating yet beautiful patterns carved on it, these patterns seems to form the shape of an arched door. As he checked inside the egg, he can faintly see a minified tree sapling that is seems too detailed to be man-made.
Two-thirds of the crystal egg has been exposed while the remaining third is still inside the ore. Zhang Tie tried to pry with his hands and eventually manage to remove the crystal egg from the ore after applying a bit of strength, getting the full view of the object.
Inside the crystal egg, there is no egg yolk rather the ’’egg yolk’’ portion is where the tiny tree sapling is while the ’’egg white’’ portion consists of a mercury-like substance flowing in it.
On a closer look, the ’’mercury’’ seems to be a seven-colored light mist, strangely beautiful and captivating. The light mist is revolving and whirling around the tree sapling filling it with an inexplicable mystery.
Earlier on, it is exactly the shine released by the light mist that caught Zhang Tie's attention.
The spear training this afternoon has caused several blisters to be formed on Zhang Tie's hand, these blisters were broken by the rough edges of the ore when he gripped too tightly on his way back.
This caused the ore and crystal egg to be slightly stained by Zhang Tie's blood. As the blood stain is affecting the crystal egg's beauty, Zhang Tie decided to cleaned it off.
However, Zhang Tie noticed that not only did the blood stain stayed on, there are signs of it being slowly absorb and seeping into the crystal egg.
As the blood stain sinks deeper into the crystal, it also became to consolidate and shrink in size turning into the shape of a blood drop. When the blood drop was formed, the crystal egg began to shine brightly...
’’Ah!’’ Zhang Tie released the crystal egg from his grip as he felt his hand burning but immediately stared wide eyed with his mouth opened.
The crystal egg did not drop after leaving his grip but remained upright and floated calmly in front of the lamp to while a faint splendour begins to emit from it.
Zhang Tie continue to nervously stare at it feeling abit of fear and unsure of what's happening. After a few moments, the drop of blood that formed on top portion of the crystal egg begins to disintegrates into sand-like grains and scatter onto the tree sapling in the center...
The moment the grains begin falling, Zhang Tie felt his mind going fuzzy. A feeling as though stepping on empty air was felt as though he is free falling from the sky.
Next, the crystal egg that is shrouded in the strange light turned into a beam and flew towards him causing the point between his eyebrows to feel a terrible pain, it is as though something is drilling into his brain thru that spot. Zhang Tie saw black and fainted...
The fainting caused Zhang Tie lose all his senses...
After an unknown amount of time, Zhang Tie slowly gained awareness.
The first thing he felt is a cold chill on his face. Fear gripped him as he has yet to understand his situation. After his mind processed for a few seconds calming him down, Zhang Tie slowly opened his eyes and discovered that the reason he felt cold is because, his face is pressed on the floor.
Zhang Tie tested and moved his eyes before struggling to stand up and sit on his bed.
Within the lodge, the bean-size flame on his oil lamp is still burning and by estimating the oil level dropped he determined that about three to four hours has passed.
Zhang Tie stood up and remove the wooden insulating partition from the window and saw that it was pitch black outside. A distance into the darkness, some dogs could be heard barking. This proved that his guess is correct, it is now very late into the night.
Wait a minute... Where is that crystal egg...
Zhang Tie looked at his hands in surprise before searching the lodge. Other than the piece of Fool's Gold on the ground, there isn't a single fart to be found.
As he picked up the ore and examines it in his hands, Zhang Tie located the smooth round hole where the crystal egg was once embedded in. This confirmed that what happened earlier is real.
Can it be that... it flew away...?
Zhang Tie thought of the possibility when he remembered the scene when the crystal egg floated in the middle of the air and begin checking the walls and windows inside the lodge looking for clues.
Everything is intact without damage, even a hole the size of a fly could not be found, where could the egg size object flew to? Even if it flew off, there should be a hole created somewhere right?
Zhang Tie took out a mirror for his drawer and looked at himself, other than a slightly pale face there are no signs of an injury or scar at the area between his eye brows.
After sitting wordlessly on his bed for some time, Zhang Tie's stomach released a thunderous rumble as it reminded him that he skipped dinner. As he thought of food, Zhang Tie immediately discovered a never before felt hunger in him, the feeling makes him confident that he can finish a whole cow if one is to be put in front of him.
Since he did not know what has happened to the crystal egg, Zhang Tie decided to set the matter aside and focus on the urgent problem of filling up his stomach first. At this rate, he might starve to death and everything will be for naught.
Zhang Tie lowered the attic stairs with silent and experienced moves, heading to the kitchen on the first floor with the oil lamp in his hands and moving sneakily like a thief.
Fortunately, the main dish for today's dinner are baked sweet potatoes. The stuff tastes good even if it is cold and a large plate of the cooked sweet potatoes could be found in the kitchen, about seven or eight of them in total.
Zhang Tie began to wolf down the sweet potatoes without hesitation, finishing them within moments. Only when he cleaned out the plate did he shockingly discovered that his appetite has been increased to an absurd degree.
The sweet potatoes weigh about half a kilo in total but he managed to consume all of them! Normally he could not even finish half that amount, what happened to him today. On top of that, despite eating so much he only felt half full and also began to feel very thirsty.
After drinking two large ladles of water and three large bowls of rice wine did his hungry stomach finally feel satisfied, his body also entered a state of comfort that he has never experienced before.
After giving taking a quick and casual shower did he quietly return to his little lodge, removing his clothes before laying on his bed.
After some twist and turns and judging that it will be difficult for him to sleep, Zhang Tie decided to train instead. He sat up from his bed and began following the instructions inside the <<Godly Abacus Mental Arithmetic>>, closing his eyes and imagining an abacus in his mind.
As he did, Zhang Tie noticed that there is something blurry in a corner of his mind. With a thought, Zhang Tie focused his spirit and will onto that object causing its image to quickly sharpen.
Upon seeing it clearly, Zhang Tie nearly cried out with joy as the object is the quaint and elegant arched door he saw carved onto the crystal egg, silently floating within the depths of his mind.
When Zhang Tie focused his will onto the arched door, it began to quickly expand, its features also becoming clearer...
It seems... it seems that it could be entered a faint thought resounded in Zhang Tie's mind quietly hinting him.
Even though Zhang Tie did not know where the idea came from, he stared at the quaint and elegant looking arched door before making up his mind and said Enter!
At this moment, the 15 years old pitiful youth did not know that his decision has forever changed his normal ordinary life into an extraordinary one.