Castle Of Black Iron - Volume 1 - Chapter 13
Castle of Black Iron
Under a state of blurriness, Zhang Tie noticed his surroundings dimmed for a moment before brightening up like a train that has left a dark tunnel, the surrounding temperature also changed as he felt his body warming up.
At the same time the air smelled different as he breathed it in, much fresher than normal like the smell of a park after raining. When Zhang Tie opened his eyes, he was thoroughly shocked, his mouthed opened wide for a long time without closing, only after noticing that he is drooling did he wake up from his state.
What Zhang Tie saw in front of him is a square piece of land and he is standing in its center. This piece of land is many times larger than the area of his school.
As he stood in its center, Zhang Tie roughly estimated that the side of the square should be more than 700 meters giving it a very open and wide feel.
There isn't much on this barren piece of land, the only object that stood out is also at its center, not far from where he is standing. A young tree the height of a man was planted in that spot.
Zhang Tie began to check the young tree with a strong curiosity.
Young leaves are sprouting out of the tree's branches and Zhang Tie is astonished to find each leaf seems to have streams of brilliance flowing within it making them very eye catching.
The leaves on the young tree comes in various shapes and colors, basically not a single leaf is the same thus creating an odd out-of-the-norm feeling when looking at it.
However, although the feeling is odd in the beginning, after observing the different sprouting leaves closely, it somehow exudes a mysterious sense of balance as though this is the most perfect form.
As for the tree body, its material doesn't seem to be either wood or metal, it is not clear what material it is made of.
Within the high and wide expanse of this space, threads of seven-color mist began to twist about in the surrounding. A refreshing and peaceful feeling wells up inside the mind as a person sees the mist transform its shape.
The scene he saw inside the crystal egg a few hours ago, has been replicated in front of him The strange tree sapling and the seven-color mist within it.
Is this a dream?
After looking at his body that is still wearing the attire he went to bed in, basically just pants without a top and noticing he arrived here without changing the seating posture he adopted on his bed.
Zhang Tie gave a strong pinch to his little 'bro' while sitting on the ground and discovered... he wasn't dreaming.
Upon confirming his state, he stood up and walked barefooted towards the young tree that is beside him about ten paces away. As he reached the young tree that is lightly surrounded by the flowing seven-color mist, he circled it twice while feeling an inexplicable warm feeling as though he is connected to this strange young tree by blood.
Being relatives with a strange tree, Zhang Tie thought he has gone crazy.
After circling the tree a few more times and not discovering anything else, Zhang Tie decided to do some exploring instead.
The earth felt soft and fine, it is slightly moist but not wet and has no impurities in it. As Zhang Tie felt like standing on fine sand instead of earth, he began take big confident strides as he travelled on this land that is at most slightly larger than 0.5 km2.
As he explored, Zhang Tie eventually reached the edge of the land where the seven-colored mist thickens forming into something like a barrier. Zhang Tie tried to force himself thru the mist barrier but was stopped by a strange resistance no matter how much strength he used.
Moving on, he discovered a mud pit about 300 metres away from the tree. The pit covers about 200 m2 of land and is filled with mud that's as black as ink.
Although the constantly bubbling mud pit gives off a terrifying feel but there are no weird smells coming out of it and overall doesn't seem dangerous.
Only after completing a round, did Zhang Tie discovered that other than himself there is no other mobile lifeform on this piece of land, not even an ant.
’’Is there anyone here? What is this place?’’
’’Can anyone tell me what place is this?’’
Zhang Tie shouted with the loudest voice he could muster but no one answered, not even an echo returned to him.
After using another ten minutes to do another round of checks did Zhang Tie confirm that other than the tree, he is really the only living thing here.
In the end, Zhang Tie decided to find out more about this strange place by learning more from the tree.
After circling the tree two times, the feeling of familiarity with the tree got stronger the more he looked at it.
In the end being unable to endure his curiosity any longer, Zhang Tie stretched out his hand and lightly caressed one of the many sprouting leaves that is overflowing with brilliance.
The moment he touched it, a translucent blue communication panel popped up in his eyes. Zhang Tie got a fright by the sudden appearance before noticing the row of words on the panel.
- Thousand Karma Fruit Treasure Tree of Lycorisradiata*
- Treasure Tree discovered User's body under state of energy leak. Leaked energy can be used to grow Leak Prevention Fruit. Proceed?
(Cuppa: Lycorisradiata also commonly known as Red Spider Lily https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lycoris_radiata. In Buddhism, it is called 'the flower of heaven' or 'the flower on the other shore', the fragrance the flower emits welcome newcomers that 'just crossed the nether river'. This is information I found on a Chinese website talking about Buddhism.)
There are two buttons at the bottom of the panel, although he is using it for the first time, Zhang Tie understood what he is supposed to do immediately.
The dumbfounded guy removed his hand and the panel disappeared from his eyes, he touched it again and the panel reappeared. Zhang Tie repeated the action for multiple times ad discovered no further changes happening.
Although he is not sure what is this thing but Zhang Tie instinctively understands that this is something incredible...
Although Zhang Tie did not understand what it meant by his body is leaking energy but from the looks of it, proceeding will not cause him any harm. Therefore, he once again made the panel appear and tried pressing the 'Yes' button with his hand.
Although from his perspective he should be touching air but to Zhang Tie's surprise he felt a sensation on his finger when he pressed the button...
- Leak Prevention Fruit is now growing. Time to maturity: 168 hours.
- Creating Treasure Tree Dimension Managing System Template...
- User, please enter name of Dimension. Warning! Once name is confirmed it cannot be changed.
- Dimension Name: ........................... (A row of shining dots appeared)
As the previous panel disappears, a new one appeared. Seeing the row of shining dots behind the dimension name, Zhang Tie paused for a moment pondering the meaning behind the message.
After some thought, he said four words Castle of Black Iron!
After he finished speaking, a slightly surprised Zhang Tie saw the shining dots of light transforming into four words, Castle of Black Iron.
- Dimension Name: Castle of Black Iron
Zhang Tie pressed the 'Confirm' button. As the button was pressed, the panel disappeared and was displayed by another.
- How would you like the system to address you?
- Preferred Honorary Title: ........................ (Another row of shining dots appeared)
With his earlier experience, Zhang Tie understood what he should do.
After some thoughts, Zhang Tie decided to get the system to call him The Handsome and Stalwart Castle Lord. Thinking that since no one will know anyway, there is no need to worry about others criticising this narcistic title.
This should be fine, right? Since no one will find out! Zhang Tie thought in his mind as his finger hovers over the 'Confirm' button. In the end, he steeled his heart and shamelessly pressed down on the button.
- Naming confirmed as Castle of Black Iron. All individuals in Castle of Black Iron confirmed.
- Castle of Black Iron Basic Management System Template completed!
Zhang Tie saw a change in his vision as the panel disappears, a blue translucent picture appeared at the left upper corner of his vision. The center of the picture is a young tree and underneath it is four words ’’Castle of Black Iron’’.
After building his confidence thus far, Zhang Tie pressed the picture which expanded and shifted in front of him. Lines of words began to appear on the branches of the tree, transforming it into a tree shaped menu that displayed four categories.
- Castle of Black Iron Basic Attributes
- Dimension Space and Terrain Creation
- Lifeforms and Species Management
- Special Seeds and Fruits Produced by Thousand Karma Fruit Treasure Tree of Lycorisradiata
Zhang Tie selected the topmost item on the menu, ’’Castle of Black Iron Basic Attributes’’. Instantly a new window was opened.
Castle of Black Iron
- Length: 1 Krosa
- Width: 1 Krosa
- Spirit Energy: 0
- Merit: 0
- Basic Energy Stored: 0
- Specialties Produced: None
Length: 1 Krosa*? What in the hell is that? How long is it? Zhang Tie only heard of measuring metrics such as decimetre, millimetre, centimetre, meter, kilometre even Mach speed and light speed but ’’Krosa’’? Does such measuring term exist?
Since he can't make sense of it, he decided to just ignore that detail since it should only be a type of measuring unit, it shouldn't be anything important. Zhang Tie continued reading the rest of the attributes and released a long breath when he finished.
Although the figures displayed are not pleasant to the eye, basically giving a feeling of emptiness and being dirt poor. Zhang Tie was very excited as he felt a sense of new beginning and freedom to build everything from scratch.
Since he did not understand some of the details completely, Zhang Tie closed the window and proceed on to the next item on the menu ’’Dimension Space and Terrain Creation’’ but unexpectedly, instead of a panel, a sentence appeared instead.
- The Three Major Reserves within Castle of Black Iron is currently at 0. Dimension Space and Terrain Creation function disabled.
He moved on to the next item on the menu ’’Lifeforms and Species Management’’ and a new window with four buttons appeared.
- Carbon-based Lifeforms and Species Management
- Silicon-based Lifeforms and Species Management
- Sulphur-based Lifeforms and Species Management
- Other Lifeforms and Species Management
Other than the first ’’Carbon-based Lifeforms and Species Management’’ button being available for selection;the rest of the buttons are all inactive and greyed out.
As Zhang Tie pressed the first button, a journal appeared with two messages.
- By investing system resources into a selected lifeform or species, the selected organism will have a certain probability of undergoing an unexpected mutation or evolution.
- The system has detected carbon-based microbes on the body of The Handsome and Stalwart Castle Lord.
- Castle of Black Iron Microbes System activated.
As the announcement disappears, three option cards appeared.
Of the Animal, Plant and Microbe option cards, only the Microbe one is active and Zhang Tie selected it.
The card expanded into a list of pictures with the Microbe's name in the centre, they represent the microbes Zhang Tie 'brought' into the Castle* which are a few types of bacteria and yeast.
There are bacteria on everyone's body with both good and bad functions so it is unsurprising. As for the yeast, Zhang Tie reckon it is from the home brewed rice wine that he drank earlier on. Without knowing when it happened, he must have gotten some of it on him and brought it with him as he entered the Castle.
(Cuppa: I will shorten the term to Castle and Treasure Tree from now on because it is too lengthy but I will keep the title that Zhang Tie named himself as it is. My guess is he will regret it in the future haha)
As he selected the picture of the yeast, a new display appeared.
On the display is an expanded picture of the yeast. On its left is a red cross while at the bottom are three sliders. Each of the sliders represented an attribute which are - Spirit Energy, Merit and Basic Energy.
As it isn't complicated, Zhang Tie manage to guess its purpose after a quick glance. The three sliders likely meant the amount of resources he is willing to invest into the organism. As long as he is willing to make the investment, the chosen lifeform or species will have a certain probability of mutating or evolving.
After concluding, Zhang Tie selected the red cross on the side of the picture.
- The Handsome and Stalwart Castle Lord, confirm erase the existence of selected organism using the Laws of Space and Dimension? Note! Once erased, it will be impossible to revive.
Zhang Tie was shocked by the cold words of the system and quickly cancelled the function, deciding in his heart that as much as possible to refrain from using this function in the future.
Feeling interesting up till now, Zhang Tie wanted to continue exploring however the last ’’Special Seeds and Fruits Produced by Treasure Tree’’ option is not activated.
This Castle of Black Iron is filled with an infinite amount of secrets! As Zhang Tie plans to check one more time, he saw a system alert on the panel.
- System detected the willpower and strength of The Handsome and Stalwart Castle Lord near depletion, various body functions beginning to undergo stress. Unable to provide ideal conditions for recovery as system spirit energy is at 0. System recommends The Handsome and Stalwart Castle Lord to leave Castle of Black Iron and enter when the body has recovered.
At the same time, the special 'door' within his conscious released a small pulse informing Zhang Tie that if he wants to leave he will just need to focus his will on the door and say 'Return' in his mind...
With the alert did Zhang Tie notice how sleepy he has become. A day of activities and experiencing many emotional ups and downs along the way has greatly depleted his energy.
After releasing a huge yawn, Zhang Tie decided to supress his desire to continue investigating.
He focused his will onto the door and said 'Return' in his mind. Immediately, the feeling of going through a tunnel was felt and he found himself back on his bed inside the lodge.
Despite opening his eyes widely from start to end, Zhang Tie is unable to discover how he returned on his bed.
Except for the feeling of a faint vibration emitting from the door in his mind, everything else in his surroundings is the same as when he left.
It is as though what had happened just now is but an illusion. Like a photo-taking session in a studio, the models maintained their posture while the photographer changed the background with a flip of a switch.
That is so f*king awesome!
Before Zhang Tie could review the incredible experience that he had just went thru, a strong wave of sleepiness assaulted him as he collapsed onto his bed and slept...