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Castle Of Black Iron - Volume 1 - Chapter 15

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Book 1 Chapter 15

Red Scarf Bandits

’’This kid, every time after school he will rush off quickly, is he rushing to reincarnate!*’’ Barry helplessly commented as he watched Zhang Tie's disappearing figure while waving goodbye at the gang.

(Cuppa: A traditional Chinese belief is when a person dies, the spirit will journey to hell requiring to queue and wait for their turn to be reincarnated. Thus, the above phrase is often used to sarcastically remark at someone rushing off to somewhere unknown)

’’Isn't he working in a general store?’’ Sven asked.

’’He went yesterday, his work schedule is two times per week on every Tuesday and Thursday. Today is Friday, what is he planning?’’ Barry explained.

’’Maybe he is rushing to return home!’’ Doug defended Zhang Tie, something that never happened before they settled their differences.

’’Men that goes home immediately after school will become good-for-nothings!’’ Baghdad hugged his chest and proudly commented.

’’Then what are your plans?’’ Chad asked.

’’I am going to try my luck at the Fierce Tiger Battle Dojo. This weekend, the dojo is recruiting some temporary helpers. The selected will have the chance to use their training facilities for free and, if luck is on your side, you might even get some training advice from the masters of that place!’’

’’That's good, I wish you luck. That sort of place is for the rich, I heard Gree that fella goes to a Battle Dojo every day after school, using their training facilities for a few hours each time...’’ Chad shrugs his shoulders as he said.

’’The Dojo that Gree went is the Blazing Fire Battle Dojo, it is one of the best Dojo in Black Flame City!’’ Baghdad's tone is filled with envy, ’’if only they are recruiting as well!’’

Baghdad's words immediately caused Barry to roll his eyes.

’’What about you Chad, any plans for the weekend?’’ Sven asked.

Chad hesitated for a moment before deciding to be truthful, ’’I will be accompanying my dad to visit an old friend of his. This old friend just arrived in Black Flame City a couple of days ago, he is newly appointed as the Deputy Manager of the Storm Merchant Group. My dad might be thinking of introducing me and help me prepare for the future. How about you, Sven?’’

’’I am giving tuition over the weekend. They are paying 40 coppers a day!’’ Sven replied with a hint of embarrassment.

’’Your dad is really stingy. You are only 15 yet he makes you spend your weekend earning money for the family!’’ Doug brainlessly commented.

’’It's because Sven has two younger brothers, the responsibility of being the eldest isn't light!’’ Sista said.

’’Right. How about your weekend Sista?’’ Doug asked.

’’Hehe, I manage to save up enough money over the month. I will be doing something comfortable over the weekend!’’ Sista moved his hips in a front and back motion as he said.

’’You are really... You saved up a month of your allowance skipping breakfast everyday just to enjoy for that one day. Will you die if you don't go whoring?’’ Baghdad said with contempt.

’’If I don't go, I will definitely die! After my first experience, I understood that this life of mine lives for women...’’ Sista earnestly replied before hooking his arm over Baghdad's shoulders and begin whispering to him......

Just like that, the members of the Airplane Brotherhood casually chatted with each other before dispersing one by one.

As for Zhang Tie, he is running through the alleys in his fastest speed. Only after running for two streets, did he finally stop at a place he has visited many times, the tram station on Great Wesley Street.

Zhang Tie stood outside the entrance of an alley beside the tram station, calming his rough breathing while quietly observing the street. Over the past two years, Zhang Tie have waited at this spot for countless of times, successfully seeing the person he is waiting for on most occasions.

In the past, every time after school ended he and many others will follow the back of a person for the distance of two full streets.

However, this all ended when that terrifying one-eye dragon joined the school. As the one-eye dragon began to actively court that person, he dealt with those lusty students that followed that person after school and ended any further stalking.

Only Zhang Tie persisted, although he no longer able to follow the back of the person, he manage to discover this place.

As long as he isn't working that day, Zhang Tie will always run to this spot after school using his quickest speed. All for the sake of getting a good look at that person, even if only a glimpse, he will be satisfied.

As Zhang Tie waited silently for about ten minutes, that person appeared as usual, at a junction 40 meters away from the tram station.

The moment Ms. Dinah appeared, what Zhang Tie saw wasn't a person but a painting, a live painting. The moment she appeared, everything between heaven and earth seemed to be more colorful and livens up. The 15 year old youth felt his breathing is about to stop.

As Ms. Dinah walked, she eventually reached the tram station and had her back facing Zhang Tie, standing 20 meters apart.

Zhang Tie blankly stared at the back of Ms. Dinah from the alley, that most beautiful back, that most beautiful hair, that most beautiful figure, wearing that most beautiful clothes, showing a small portion of her calves, that lethal and se*y black high heels, all these makes Zhang Tie feel that Ms. Dinah is the incarnation of a goddess.

Ms. Dinah's hair must smell real nice, just like the fragrant smell of her body! Zhang Tie thought as he looked at her beautiful hair. Wondering how it feels like to touch, the youth began fantasizing...

On the station platform, there were initially many passengers having loud conversations but when Ms. Dinah arrived, Zhang Tie discovered that the volume of the conversations have reduced.

Two gentlemen on the platform even secretly straighten their backs while another guy used the reflection on the advertising boards to check his hair.

Zhang Tie hoped that Ms. Dinah's transport will never arrive so that he could silently look at her forever but within five minutes a tram began to slowly approach the platform from the distance.

The trams used in Black Flame City are basically just smaller size versions of the trains, the tracks are narrower, the body slimmer. As it uses less steam power, it is also slower and has a smaller capacity but is therefore more suitable for city use.

As the transport tool brakes to reduces its speed and stops at the platform, a cloud of steam was produced at the tail end of the vehicle. A conductor stood at the door, half of his body exposing as he shook the bell in his hand, reminding boarding passengers to purchase their tickets.

The people on the platform began to board the tram...

Only after the tram carrying Ms. Dinah was out of sight did Zhang Tie in a state of lost, turned and walked away, carrying an unknown and unclear feeling in his heart as he headed towards the direction of home.

......

As it is the end of the week, Zhang Tie's elder brother, Zhang Yang is also returning home. Somehow along the way, every Friday became a sort of reunion dinner for the family therefore the dishes cooked are more sumptuous than normal.

As Zhang Tie reached home, his Mother used the remaining half of the cured meat stored at home to stew a pot of cloud beans, the familiar fragrance of the soup reached him even before he entered the house.

When he saw the bubbling white soup cooking in the pot, the hunger in his body began to stir and wakes up. He quickly took the spoon at the side and scooped the soup, only quickly cooling it with a few blows and too impatient to cool it any longer, he drank the soup in one mouth ignoring the residue heat in it.

Zhang Tie could only describe the feeling felt as ’’blissful' as the soup slides into his mouth.

’’Gluttonous kitten. If you are hungry, you can have a bowl for yourself first’’ his mother said as she walked over from the shop front and dotingly ruffled Zhang Tie's hair. This action is something that has never changed since it started more than ten years ago.

Zhang Tie swallowed his saliva, ’’No its okay, I am not hungry. Let's wait for dad and brother to return first!’’

’’Oh, our Little Fruit has really grown up!’’ his mother commented as she began to wear her apron, ’’Your dad needs to work overtime today and will reach home at a later time. You go tend to the shop, I will prepare dinner’’

’’Okay!’’

Half an hour, Zhang Tie's father returned. After checking up on Zhang Tie, his father also went into the kitchen to help out.

After waiting for another twenty minutes, Zhang Tie and his parents was about to start dinner thinking that Zhang Yang will not be returning, when the person in question finally reaches home.

Zhang Yang is 1.88m tall with a burly body and toned limbs. His features are very close to Zhang Tie except his eyes and eyebrow are narrow and long*, making it hard to guess what he is thinking.

(Cuppa: If you are wondering, the eyes are like Brock of Pewter Gym in Pokemon. If you don't know who's that. Here's the link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brock_(Pok%C3%A9mon))

Zhang Yang is wearing the black military uniform of Black Flame City Defense Force, on his waist is a leather military belt with yellow bronze buttons, a standard issued long sword is attached on that belt. On his shoulders is the military rank of Sergeant, it is a rank of a squad leader in the Defense Army, one more step and he will become an Officer.

Since young, this elder brother of his has been Zhang Tie's idol.

When he entered the house, Zhang Yang opened his backpack without a word and placed two items on Zhang Tie's hands, ’’Take it and open it up, let our family have a good meal tonight!’’

’’Canned beef!’’ Zhang Tie's eyes shined as he received the items. His mouth began to salivate unceasingly, he did not expect his brother to bring home good stuff tonight.

’’You just stay seated, I will go open it...’’ his mother took the two cans away before Zhang Tie could say anything, using the excuse of getting another pair of cutlery for Zhang Yang she went to the kitchen closet to hide one of the cans, opening only one in the end.

The three men on the table grinned. The mother of the house has always been frugal and detailed, the family is also used to her methods.

’’Brother, what other good stuff do you have? Zhang Tie looked at the backpack on Zhang Yang's hands with shining eyes. Seeing the bulging backpack, he believed there should be more stuff in it. From Zhang Tie's point of view, his elder brother is sometimes like a magician, capable of conjuring many different things out of no where.

’’Ha, this are all for you!’’ Zhang Yang placed the whole pack into his hands and Zhang Tie opened it impatiently. The first thing that entered his vision are a pair of black leather boots, there is also two dark green t-shirts and two pairs of similar colored underwear. There is also a towel and a bar soap.

Shoes, shirts, underwear, towel and soap are the daily necessities distributed to the soldiers of the City Defense Army and are also items high in demand within Black Flame City, his brother must have saved it away to pass it to him. Looking at the brand new leather shoes in his hands and looking at the worn out one at his brother's feet, Zhang Tie felt a tingling sensation in his nose.

’’This is stuff I exchanged with someone, its measurement should fit you well. I heard mother saying you are a big man now, so don't start crying on me!’’ Zhang Yang stretched his hand and ruffled Zhang Tie's head as he said.

As Zhang Tie heard his brother's words, the tingly sensation in his nose stopped immediately, feeling somewhat embarrassed and frustrated that his brother knew what has happened to him. His brother continues to frustrate him even more by turning and joked more with his father, laughter exploded between the two men, totally ignoring someone's young and brittle heart.

’’Mum!’’ Zhang Tie shouted discontentedly.

’’Ok ok, let's eat. I will not say anything more in the future ok?’’ His mother brought out a plate of canned beef as she walks over.

The family of four started dinner, enjoying their bonds......

’’Try not to go out at night if you can help it for this period’’ Zhang Yang advised Zhang Tie over the dinner table, ’’There might be unrest in Black Flame City soon’’

’’What happened?’’ his father asked looking slightly anxious, his mother also raised her ears. Only Zhang Tie is gloomily chewing on to the piece of canned beef in his bowl, ’’You heard of any news?’’

’’A few days ago, the deputy chief of Red Scarf Bandits, Blood Butcher Sarah, has been caught in Andaman City. Yesterday the alliance gave their verdict after voting, capital punishment by hanging. The bandit group upon hearing the news have declared that they will retaliate and get revenge!’’

’’This... shouldn't affect Black Flame City right?’’ his father questioned.

’’During the vote, out of the 17 representatives from the alliance, 11 voted for the capital punishment and Black Flame City is one of them. Although no one knows how the voting details got leaked, the revenge target of the bandit group should be one of the 11 members that made the vote. As Black Flame City is situated at the remote north of the alliance and is also the alliance's weakest region therefore the city has the highest chance of getting attacked.’’ His brother calmly said.

’’Has the alliance fallen into deprivation? How can the voting details be leaked? There must be some conspiracy behind this. To think that there are cities agreeing to allow butchers such as those red scarf scums to avoid capital punishment...’’ his father commented in a moment of hotheadedness.

’’I do not know about any conspiracy but for the coming couple of months, the leave application of every person in the Defense Army has been cancelled. I will not even be able to return home for two months too’’ his brother shrugs.

’’Son, will it be dangerous?’’ mother asked worriedly.

’’Don't worry mother, with that bit of manpower the Red Scarf Bandits has, they will not be able to siege the city. The Black Flame City Defense Army and Defense Engineers are no pushovers, the bandits are at most only capable of causing terror and destruction in the shadows. There is no pressure on our Defense Army but you guys should be careful instead’’

Zhang Tie opened his mouth, wanting to inform his family about his discovery of the Castle of Black Iron. However, the logical mind within him told him to keep it a secret instead as it might bring an unfathomable danger onto them.

This is because everyone in the family including himself are just common folk living in Black Flame City, the many sad endings when common folk obtained treasures is something that he has heard a few times before.

Keeping the secret forever inside of him and not causing his parents to worry with the burden is the best choice......

After dinner, his brother left while his father went to the community square down the street to play chess with his chess pals, this is also his father's greatest hobby. As his mother wants to attend church, after closing the door, Zhang Tie is left alone at home. After washing the dishes, Zhang Tie returned to his little lodge.

Now, it is time to find out the secrets within the Castle of Black Iron......



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