Castle Of Black Iron - Volume 1 - Chapter 17
Having Responsibilities at An Early Age
As the saying goes, kids of poor families take on responsibilities early, this phrase suits Zhang Tie perfectly, he has been helping with house chores since he started primary school*.
(Cuppa: In China, children start primary school at the age of six or seven, the education for this phase lasts for six years.)
His father must work long hours in the factory while his mother needs to brew her neighborhood established rice wine for their small family business. Although with difficulty, their parent's effort has supported the family and manage to raise the two boys to adulthood.
In the past, Zhang Tie is unable to relate to the hard work and efforts made by his parents. That changed two years ago, during weekend at home, he saw his mother doing house chores after closing the shop at night, not giving herself time to rest in between.
Looking at her as she dragged her slightly plump body while using the mop, Zhang Tie noticed that his mother is no longer the slim and young person in his memory anymore. In that instant, Zhang Tie felt a sudden sadness and matured by a large factor that night. Since then, as a man in the family, Zhang Tie took up the responsibility to do his part for his parents and for this family.
Every weekend, when peers his age are playing and having fun in the neighborhood, Zhang Tie will be at home helping his mother with house chores.
Along the way, Zhang Tie also picked up her wine brewing skills, eventually reaching his mother's skill level a year ago, even their regular customers are unable to taste the difference between the rice wine he made and those made by his mother.
Strangely, it was a dreamless sleep last night, allowing Zhang Tie to have an exceptionally good rest. As the clock hits 6.00AM, the sleeping Zhang Tie naturally opened his eyes, the sky outside is still rather dark but a dim light could be seen rising from the eastern sky.
Zhang Tie looked at the alarm clock beside his bed, it is five past six. Like most youths his age, Zhang Tie has a habit of sleeping in, in his memory, except for a rare few times, he will not wake up before 7.00AM.
As he habitually closed his eyes to continue his sleep, Zhang Tie discovers that he is unable to continue sleeping, his mind is sharp and clear while his body is filled with energy with not a shred of sleepiness.
In the past, whenever he wakes up, his mind will feel groggy and blurry but this morning, his mind is like a top-grade crystal, clear and without impurities.
After struggling to sleep another time, Zhang Tie eventually relented and raised himself from bed. With only an underwear on him, Zhang Tie stood up and begin twisting his butt in a flirtatious manner, since no one is around he isn't worried of getting beaten up by his perverted actions.
Twisting his butt clockwise sixty times, followed by another sixty times anti-clockwise, is a long-time habit of his. His father once told him that a man should move their waist every morning to increase its performance.
Zhang Tie remembered his father's advice, only when he got older and chance upon his brother performing 'the act' with a girl at home, did he learnt the importance of improving his performance.
Since then, he secretly began doing this set of training every morning, although Zhang Tie is still a virgin and, except for the few blurry dreams at night, his 'little brother' has not start any activity yet. However, *cough*... *cough*... all men will want this aspect of them to be as powerful as possible, any man will understand.
He did not notice before his exercise but when he started his routine, Zhang Tie discovered his underwear has pitched a large tent, the little guy in the tent is exceptionally powerful in the mornings. As he peeked inside, the little guy has transformed into a big guy, standing tall and proud with veins exposed, its powerful look can terrify people. When testing its hardness with his hand, it felt as hard as a wooden rod.
’’*Sigh* you got to endure. It is still unknown when I can summon you for your other purpose.’’
After he finishing his butt exercise, he opened the small window in the lodge and begin doing various stretching exercises before wearing his clothes and quietly went down stairs. After he finish using the bathroom and cleaned himself up, he started to cook breakfast for his family.
With the current situation of his family, it is impossible for the breakfast to be sumptuous, today's breakfast is just simple plain porridge.
The rice is soaked overnight and has soften up in the morning, it stirs the hunger as he looks at the white grains.
Since the rice are soaked, what's left is to start cooking. As Black Flame City is rich in coal and has large reserves of the resource, the price of coal in the city is therefore very cheap. A cart of coal balls, that are made from discarded factory coal chips, could be bought for just several tens of copper coins.
Although it is easy to buy coal balls but the technique to rise a fire from them took Zhang Tie many years of 'training' before he became familiar with it. In the past, he needs to use pine oil to assist him to when starting a fire. Now, even without pine oil he can start a cooking fire in last then ten minutes.
After raising a fire in the cooking stove, Zhang Tie washed the pot and began boiling some water. Under the red-hot flames of the stove, the water began to boil in moments and Zhang Tie poured the soaked rice into the pot before putting a lid on it.
As he checked the fire, Zhang Tie smiled and discovered that, being able to wholeheartedly do chores for his family, surprising them and making them happy in the process, creates a very fulfilling and satisfying feeling.
As the porridge still needs at least another hour of cooking, there is still a lot of time remaining. After looking around the kitchen and doing some thinking, Zhang Tie went to the rice wine shop and carried the empty earthen wine jars kept inside to the courtyard.
(Cuppa: Here's a picture of the earthen wine jar, they come in many sizes: https://thumbs.dreamstime.com/x/wine-chinese-traditional-ceramic-firing-31871286.jpg)
Using well water drawn from the well in the courtyard, Zhang Tie gave the empty jars a round of thorough scrubbing and cleaning before placing them under the eaves of the house.
As the task is about to be completed, the sky has turned bright, the hour plus of house chores has caused some sweat to be form on Zhang Tie's forehead.
Just as the satisfied Zhang Tie placed the last jar below the eaves, he was surprised to discover that his mother is standing at the kitchen door leading to the courtyard, it is not known how long she has been standing there.
’’Little Fruit, what are you doing?’’
’’Hey mum, I woke up a bit early this morning, so I thought I might as well do some chores!’’
’’Silly child, this is the period your body is growing, you should have slept more!’’ his mother wiped the sweat off Zhang Tie's forehead with a pained heart.
As they went into the kitchen, Zhang Tie's mother checked the pot, from the state of the porridge inside she manages to guessed how early her son has woken up this morning, ’’Be good and go sleep awhile longer, you have already done more than half the chores this morning, you can eat after you wake up from your rest.’’
’’Mum...... I am really not tired’’ Zhang Tie replied helplessly.
’’Come, tell me what happened. Is it because you met a new friend recently and got no money to spend? I noticed you have been acting strangely since last night...’’ his mother closed up to him, whispering as though they are gossiping, ’’if that's the case, you can always get some money from me. In front of a girl, the man must be generous to be attractive, you shouldn't be too stingy. I still have some hidden savings to give but don't tell your father!’’
Zhang Tie looked at his mother, totally speechless, what is with that imagination!?
In the end, after some useless protest and nearly being dragged away by the ear, Zhang Tie is forced to return to his room by his mother to ’’recover’’ some sleep......
’’This is the age when your body is growing, getting more rest will allow your body to grow taller!’’ looking at the back of his nagging mother, Zhang Tie returned to his little lodge feeling both touched and helpless, his face looks as though he is ’’returning to his cage’’.
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However, despite what was told, the fact is that Zhang Tie is unable to sleep. After some thinking, he shut the window and went into the Castle of Black Iron with a flip of his mind.
His early experiences seem to have improved the synchronization level between the Castle and him.
All it took, is for him to think of the Castle when he closed his eyes and the door naturally appeared in front of him. When he focused his will on the door while speaking ’’Enter’’ in his mind at the same time, Zhang Tie finds himself inside the Castle immediately the next moment.
- The Handsome and Stalwart Castle Lord, Welcome to the Castle of Black Iron.
The panel disappeared shortly after appearing. Truth be told, although he initially felt embarrassed at giving himself such a title but Zhang Tie felt really good every time he saw it.
Handsome...... Stalwart...... Lord...... HAHAHAHA......
Zhang Tie puffed his chest and stood straight, observing his territory in front of him. With his eyes, he observed that the piece of land is still the same as when he left last night, not a bit of change could be seen a strange looking small tree, a wide expanse of land, as well as that piece of reinforced scrap metal he used as a marker, within his field of vision except for the aforementioned things there is nothing else.
After he spent some time observing the small tree called ’’Thousand Karma Fruit Treasure Tree of Lycorisradiata’’ and saw no visible changes, Zhang Tie decided to look at the seeds he planted yesterday.
Thinking about his efforts last night, Zhang Tie got spirited and ran to that plot of land within a few steps, squatting down and carefully observing the planted area.
Understanding that only one night has passed, Zhang Tie isn't worried when he saw that the corn seeds he planted has no reaction.
Based on the agricultural knowledge learnt in school, for corn to start sprouting it will require at least a week, it is now still early.
Suddenly, Zhang Tie heavily slapped his forehead and remembered that he had gotten too excited after planting and forgot to water the seeds. This is a very cheap mistake but fortunately it is still not too late, he can fix it by bringing a couple buckets of water into the Castle later.
After inspecting the corn, Zhang Tie moved on to the potatoes when he was greatly surprised by the hardy plants, the potatoes are already sprouting. Although he made sure the sprouting portion is facing upwards during planting, he did not expect them to sprout above ground within one night, some sprouts have even grown to the length of a bean sprout with the largest piece planted growing two sprouts The game is on!
Zhang Tie got very excited, damn, with this land, even if only potatoes could be planted in the future, I will not have to worry about starving to death! At this moment, this is the only thing that ran through his mind.
After staying excited for a while, Zhang Tie opened the Castle's attribute panel.
Castle of Black Iron
- Length: 1 Krosa
- Width: 1 Krosa
- Spirit Energy: 0.3
- Merit: 3
- Basic Energy Stored: 0.2
- Specialties Produced: None
The Merit increasing by 1 is within his expectation but what caught Zhang Tie's attention is the Spirit Energy attribute that is supposed to be empty when he left last night......