Castle Of Black Iron - Volume 1 - Chapter 6
Black Flame City
Zhang Tie has no idea how he managed to last without fainting throughout the afternoon until school ended. The beating he received by the guys from Airplane Brotherhood at noon costed him his lunch, he can only tough it out with an empty stomach in the afternoon. When he felt hungry, he can only use the rest periods and head to the water pipes to stuff himself with water - this is also one of the survival skills learnt in school in this era. The school instructors said before, under extreme situations, when there is utterly no food available and if there is a clean source of water available, regardless of your thirst, you can fill your stomach with some water. This can lessen the hunger and reduce the speed your body diminishes its strength. A person without water but has food can at most last two days but a person that has water but without food can last for more than three days, that's the difference.
The only thing that Zhang Tie felt lucky about is afternoon's lesson is a combined military formation training, among the afternoon classes, this is considered one of the least physically demanding. The whole of this afternoon's class, is to get the year's graduates to change into a standard set of light infantry armor, carrying a more than 3-meter-long spear and stand in their formation on the training field, changing into different formations base on the commander's orders. Training the battle formations and attacks, becoming a Rank 1 Spearman, obtaining a Rank 1 Spearman medal, is the beginning and mark of every boy of this era turning into man, it is also the choice made by most students when they are serving their mandatory military service. The Spearman is a type of soldier that highly focuses on formations and teamwork, it is both the strongest and weakest type of soldiers. In the battlefield, a unit formed completely by Rank 1 Spearman can easily handle more than three times the number of similar Rank 1 close combat enemies attacking without formation and a unit formed by Rank 5 Heavy Armor Spearman has the power to become the deciding factor in direct battles. Combining the surrounding population of a few millions and the whole of Black Flame City, there is only three Rank 5 Heavy Armor Spearman units which became the final martial power of Coal Steel Federation in this city.
As he has no advantage in physical qualities and even comparatively skinnier than others, therefore Zhang Tie does not really like the Spearman vocation. That three-odd-meter long spear, with a weight over ten kilos, when held in hand to brandish and attack, often makes Zhang Tie feel strenuous. When near the end of training, seeing his soft and weak pierce attack of his spear, Zhang Tie always suspect with his speed and strength, how is it possible for him to strike and kill an enemy. Speaking of the long spear, even that damn fat Barry looks to be handling it a bit more professionally then him, after more than fifty pierces he felt the strength in his spear weakening, that damn fatty on the other hand can perform more than seventy spear pierces before his strength seems to weaken. Among the members of Airplane Brotherhood, Zhang Tie's spear skill is the weakest.
Although he doesn't like the Spearman vocation but Zhang Tie got to admit, the unit formed by this vocation that he dislikes brought forth a great sense of security. Each time when he inconspicuously stood in the formation, watching his surrounding classmates, Zhang Tie always felt an
Inexplicable feeling of safety, this is a very conflicting feeling. To Zhang Tie, this seems to be the sorrow of inconspicuous small characters of this era like him - at many times, you cannot not rely on the things that you dislike to continue surviving.
During afternoon's training, Zhang Tie felt his whole stomach and abdomen is like a filled water bag, every time he moved, the water in the body will give off a sloshing sound, causing the heart to fluster. Many times, during the pierce attack, when his movement becomes slightly bigger, Zhang Tie will feel the water in his stomach, that contained a weird smell, like a rising tide rushing up to his throat, causing his throat to feel some discomfort before falling back down, nearly vomiting. While his hands, often felt soft and weak without force, many times Zhang Tie will feel the strict stare of the Spear Formation Instructor circling on him. After giving him a few looks and with some shred of understanding, moved away from his body with disdain and turned to look at another area. This caused Zhang Tie to inwardly grit his teeth yet he can do nothing about it.
The person that caught the Spear Formation Instructor's attention is naturally Gree, among the six spearman units on the training field, it is Gree's unit that took the most attention. During training, Gree who is already a Rank 2 Soldier immediately displayed the difference between rookies and him, having close to a 1.9m body coupled with the more than 30 kilos heavy, Black Flame City standard military issue stainless steel long spear, along with the red triangle flag on the long spear that signifies as the spearman unit's captain, caused Gree to stand out among the spearman formation looking imposing and arrogant. Under the admiring look of the instructor, Gree is looked even more like an excited person injected with chicken's blood, every spear pierce will always be accompanied by a ghastly howl like roar, causing the whole training field to be filled with his roaring.
Zhang Tie's heart is filled with contempt, but he got to admit, if he is to confront Gree now, likely within two or three spears maybe even one spear, he will be pierced through by that guy. Gree indeed has the capital to be conceit, among all the graduating students in school, except for Gree, everyone else are reserve fighters, not even Rank 1 Battle Soldiers. Base on the common route, most people, around the first two years of military service, at about 18 years old of age will be promoted from fighters to Rank 1 Battle Soldiers. In the eight years of military service, more than 95% and above of the common people will reach Rank 3 or Rank 4 before retiring, a few will reach Rank 5 and only the professional military men or those who rely on specialized martial powers to make a living will be able to reach Rank 6. Promoting from Battle Soldier to Battle Warrior, is very respectable by people in any place.
Once the afternoon training ended and changing his attire in the hot and smelly changing room, before hastily wearing his shoes. Zhang Tie held his stomach and rushed out, not even a word at Barry and the guys, causing the brotherhood members that was about to speak with him to look at each other.
’’What happen to this guy?’’ Sven, with a head full of brown hair and a face covered with freckles, said as he scratched his head.
’’He seemed to have drank quite a bit of water in the afternoon, it is likely he cannot endure it any longer!’’ Baghdad answered, as a black man, Baghdad possesses the strongest physique in the Brotherhood, this afternoon's training is considered very easy to him, at the same time Baghdad also has the highest force value in Airplane Brotherhood.
’’Keke, unlucky guy!’’ Chad laughed.
’’Unlucky? I am the unlucky one!’’ even till now, Doug still felt indignant, especially when he remembered that quite a few has seen his sorry look of being covered in vomit. Doug always felt that he was being criticized by people the whole afternoon, causing his nerves to become a bit over sensitive.
’’Enough, Barry will get some more silver coins for you!’’ Sista squinted his eyes while using his hands to make an indecent gesture that everyone understood. Barry upon seeing it, immediately became full with pride, ’’Before we graduate, the members of our brotherhood must break away from the identity of virgin chicks and become real men!’’
’’Rest assured, your benefits will not be less!’’ Barry gave the considerably injured Doug a pat, consoling him. Seeing Zhang Tie disappeared swiftly without leaving a shadow and remembering that four silver coins of his, Barry's fat face twitched a couple of times from his pained heart and shake his head, ’’an interesting guy, although unable to figure out his capabilities yet, every aspects average. However, his heart is not bad and his mind is considerably quick, a guy that makes people at ease, at least when together with this guy there is no need to worry about being plotted!’’ fat Barry said as he stroked his chin while adopting an experienced looking posture.
Everyone nod their heads, only Doug is still swearing with a grievous look.
Zhang Tie rushed to the toilet with a bladder on the verge of bursting, finally feeling the sense of comfort after releasing his reservoir of piss. However, his stomach at the same time also gave a thunderous rumbling sound. After walking out of the toilet and casually rinsed his hands, Zhang Tie headed towards the direction of the school gates. With his pockets holding four silver coins and thirty-four copper coins now, quickly finding some grub to eat is the right move, else Zhang Tie suspects he will not last till he reaches home.
Not far from school is a bakery, normally, Zhang Tie who is without a single dime in his pockets can only swallow his saliva and use his eyes to feast on the alluring breads whenever he passes by. However today, after feeling the coins in his pockets, Zhang Tie finally had the courage to enter this bakery. As he impatiently wolfed down the ordinary black wheat bread that costs him 10 copper coins while walking out of the bakery, Zhang Tie saw Teacher Dinah.
Teacher Dinah is still so beautiful and charming as ever, while Captain Colin and another male teacher are attentively and gentlemanly walking together with her and looked to be in a conversation. Zhang Tie at this moment has a large piece of bread stuffed inside his mouth causing his face to be a bit deformed. Upon seeing Teacher Dinah, Zhang Tie stood stunned, even Captain Colin did not look at him, likely thinking that if he admits knowing this student he will be losing face. The three of them walked past Zhang Tie, not even giving him an eye, until they have walked a fair distance did Zhang Tie reacted. Quickly turning his body, facing the beautiful glass window of the bakery and using its reflection to check his current appearance one hand holding half a loaf of bread while having a large piece in his mouth, a look as though he is choking, his mouth wide open with a slight tilt of his head. Due to the exercise this afternoon, the nosebleed hasn't completely stopped, his nose is still stuffed with two balls of paper, his eyes became lines as he was forced to squint, traces of being beaten can still be seen on his face, like an idiot standing in a daze. The corner of his mouth even has a mixture of bread scraps and saliva tracing out, this respectful face, is without a shred of doubt the look of a damn retard.
Just now Teacher Dinah saw him in this look? Upon realizing, Zhang Tie instantly felt an endless feeling of dismay and felt disheartened. No wonder Teacher Dinah did not even look at him, just that retard look of his just now...... he lowered his head and once again saw that pair of utterly insignificant old shoes, grinning at him.
The fifteen years old pitiful youth despaired, feeling life has lost its purpose and joy.
Zhang Tie looked at the far away Teacher Dinah, only to feel the distance of Teacher Dinah's beautiful figure is getting further and further away from him. At this moment, Zhang Tie does not even have the mood and spirit to quietly follow and admire her beautiful figure from a distance.
Dazedly standing outside the bakery alone, looking at the people coming to and fro, finishing his remaining bread bit by bit without tasting it, before finally dragging his tired and lost body towards East Black Flame City's Business District. Over there, since last year, his family used their connections to find him a part time apprenticeship job to let him learn some skills to make a living. The arrangement is for two days every week, Zhang Tie will work for two hours before he can go home.