Castle Of Black Iron - Volume 1 - Chapter 9
Small Attic Lodge
The only natural light source inside the lodge is a triangular shaped window located at the foot of Zhang Tie's bed, and being an attic window it naturally isn't big. It is fine during day time, but when it is night the lodge becomes rather dark, like how it is now.
Using whatever bit of light from outside and his familiarity of the lodge, Zhang Tie manage to feel for the oil lamp before lighting it. To conserve oil the flame of the lamp was set to the smallest, resulting in a pea size light dancing behind the lamp shade, however the lodge finally has some light and warmth.
After lighting the lamp, Zhang Tie laid on the bed without removing his shoes, blankly looking at the pointed ceiling of the lodge. Under the dim light, Zhang Tie discovered a spider and its web at the corner of the roof beam. Looking at the pitiful web that makes people suspect its odds of catching any flying insect in here and the spider who spun it, Zhang Tie suddenly felt a sad feeling of being on the same boat.
Downstairs in his brother's room, the bumping sound of the bed board became louder and clearer when Zhang Tie lied down, this made it hard for Zhang Tie to calm his mind to cultivate. Therefore, Zhang Tie could only boringly stay on his bed twisting and turning, his heart itches as though a cat is scratching it before finally making the silly decision of counting the number of bumping sounds. When Zhang Tie's count reached over 700, the rhythm of the bumping increased for tens of seconds before everything went silent.
As the lower level went silent, Zhang Tie also released a long breath finally having peace and quiet. But to Zhang Tie's surprise, he discovered that his right hand is unconsciously holding on to that dishonest fella below him. Currently that fella is hard to its core, and looks to have silently prepared its stance for the ’’Hand Action Single Cylinder Piston Activity’’*.
(Cuppa: As the full name is too mouthful I will use ’’Hand Piston Activity’’ in the future)
Could it be that when he joined the Airplane Brotherhood, he was infected by the perverted hobby of those guys?
Acting as though he has touched a red-hot rod, Zhang Tie took out his hand from his pants, his rough breathing took a while before calming down.
Maybe to most people, this is not considered a big deal, but to Zhang Tie it is not the same, it is due to the serious conversation that his dad had with him when he was twelve years old regarding this issue.
His father told him that because they are of Chinese descent, their physiques are naturally smaller than the other races, these resulted in an average person to be in a disadvantage when comparing important warrior attributes such as strength, speed and endurance.
In this era, having a large gap in physical fitness can be deadly, especially for people at the recruit phase and low rank soldier phase between Rank 1 to 3. Using Zhang Tie as an example, Zhang Tie's body is considered rather well developed among the Chinese people but when in school, Zhang Tie regardless of height or strength, is considered mid-low range of the pack.
In the Airplane Brotherhood, Zhang Tie's height can be barely considered the same tier as Fat Barry and Sven, but Barry's girth is wider by a lot and his strength is also obviously stronger than Zhang Tie.
The difference in body quality between the Chinese and other races is very distinct before becoming a real warrior. Although as a warrior increases in rank, they can also increasingly ignore the difference of these inborn difference but during the early phase, this difference is an insurmountable gap.
That time Zhang Tie's father seriously said to him that, being born a Chinese within Black Flame City, to bridge the gap between him and others, the most important thing is to become a Battle Soldier as quickly as possible and increase his soldier rank. Only when the rank increases will the gap decrease, his future path will also become wider and possess more capital for survival.
Yet, to become a Rank 1 Battle Solider and quickly increase the vocation rank, the most important step is igniting the Will Fire within the Light Points inside the body.
Dealing with this milestone is something every person must experience in his life. In this warring era of races where power is respected by everyone, this is an important benchmark used to measure the value of a person.
By igniting the Will Fire within the various Light Points, the body's condition is of upmost importance. As for the ’’Hand Piston Activity’’, every shot made will cause invisible damage to a youth's body thus depleting a lot of the body's energy and essence, increasing the effort required to ignite the Will Fire while weakening the mind and body.
’’This is a slow suicidal process that is very hard to detect. Therefore, regardless what others are doing, you must not pick up this habit in the future. There is also a secret legend among the Chinese community, it warns that if any person were to develop an addiction, other than harming the body, it will also corrupt your luck and you will become unlucky for life!’’ that time when his father ended his speech, he made Zhang Tie swear that he will not pick up this bad habit before he released a heavy sigh of relieve.
(Cuppa: I laughed while translating this portion. This better be real, if it isn't, the pitiful youth has gone beyond the realm of pitiful)
Of course, incidents like what happened last night*. His father's explanation is that it is due to a young man's ’’energy overflowing’’, a natural occurrence that is not harmful to the body.
(Cuppa: Refer to Chapter 1, no wonder Zhang Tie... for the past few night... *Sobs...* poor kid...)
Remembering his father's warning, Zhang Tie got into a fright knowing that he nearly broke his vow unconsciously. After taking a while to calm down, the composed Zhang Tie sit up from his bed and walk to the window when he saw his brother is leaving the house with a woman, their backs facing him. His brother is dressed in standard Black Flame City Defense Army uniform and looks to be sending the woman home. As for the woman, from her back view, she is likely the daughter of Mr Wong, the tailor shop owner down the street.
As though feeling someone watching, Zhang Tie's brother turned his head and gave Zhang Tie, who is standing by the window, a smile while lifting his chin. Zhang Tie on the other hand, frustratingly gestured at his brother with a fist before seeing the two vanishing figures swallowed by the darkness of the streets.
On the window sill is a plate of crystal sand, within the crystal sand is a piece of dual-head white crystal. The crystal is natural, its clarity barely passing lower Grade 2 standards. Placing it inside the crystal sand on the window sill allows the crystal to naturally recharge its energy, it is similar to the thing called battery that existed before the Cataclysm. However, it is much more useful than the battery, although a Grade 2 Dual-Head crystal is far from the Grade 3 Crystal sold by Zhang Tie today, this is the highest quality and the best cultivation resource that Zhang Tie possess now.
While holding the crystal, Zhang Tie removed his shoes, ignored the odd stench and sit in cross-legged form on his bed. With both his hands in front of his abdomen, pointing the dual-head crystal on his navel, he closed his eyes and began his cultivation training...
The cultivation process is simple but dull. First is to slow down the breathing, changing it into long breathes. Next is to control the spirit and will it to follow the ’’mouth of air’’ that was breathed in, following until the spirit reaches the middle of the navel region. Rinse and repeat the process until the Light Point called ’’divine Palace’’ at the navel eye was felt and located.
Upon feeling the ’’divine Palace’’, the next step is to use the spirit and will that is following the breathing rhythm to ’’polish’’ the Light Point, focusing on it motionlessly like a fly staring at a piece of rotten meat.
Until one day, the Will Fire within the Light Point ignites that is the mark of becoming a Rank 1 Battle Soldier as well as becoming an ’’Adult’’ in this era.
Any man born in this era, if he cannot ignite the Will Fire of the most basic ’’divine Palace’’ Light Point, then the man is basically the same as a cripple or retard. This is the Survival Law of the Black Iron Age.
Within Zhang Tie's perception, the Light Point at his navel eye is like gold hiding under sand, while his meditation state is like a broom, first sweeping away the sand and exposing the Light Point before using his will like a piece of sandpaper, constantly rubbing and polishing that piece of gold. Constantly polishing it smooth and shiny until one day, it ignites and burns like flint on tinder, then it will be success...
The cultivation process was taught since Primary school, this is also the only cultivation method that you can learn for free. From what was said by the teacher, Light Points are the biggest secrets inside a human's body. Except for dominant Light Point at the navel position called divine Palace, the rest of the Light Points scattered in the body are all hidden. Unless a condition is fulfilled, there is no chance of sensing it.
As for how many Light Points exists within a human's body and what use does these mysterious Light Points have, till this date no one can provide a clear answer.
As for the two questions, how to discover and sense different Light Points in the body and how to quickly cultivate these Light Points. When asked in any place, are secrets to everyone. Those powerful sects, churches, clans and legendary great warriors, are the guardians and also the beneficiaries of these secrets.
In Black Flame City, about twenty percent of the population can only ignite one Light Point, the divine Palace and forever revolve around this one Light Point for the rest of their life...
For ordinary people like Zhang Tie, the process of entering the state of meditation is very difficult, taking half an hour of constantly adjusting his breathing to achieve it.
When Zhang Tie finally entered meditation and sense the divine Palace located at the navel region, he started sending a constant stream of his spirit and will into the Light Point.
Within his perception, his navel started to slowly increase in warmth, the divine Palace Light Point also begin to surface. Finally shining after constant polishing of his spirit and will, from a murky soft hue to a transparent brightness and reaching the size of a grain within his perception becoming an existence bathed in teal light.
At the same time, the crystal on his hand shined above his Light Point slowly forming a faint near non-existent connection with the Light Point. A string of energy that can't be perceived under normal circumstances flowed slowly from the crystal into the Light Point thru the connection, causing the Light Point to give off a teal color shine.
Under the combine influence of his spirit will and crystal, the Light Point began to slowly condense its glow, the shine surrounding the Light Point began to slowly brighten the dark space around it, like a star in the pitch-black sky, though weak yet providing a feeling of hope to people.
After an unknown amount of time, only when Zhang Tie felt his spirit will becoming empty and drained making it difficult to continue his ’’polishing’’ mission, did he wake himself up from his state of meditation.
The few hours of training spent in a day, makes it feel like there isn't significant improvements. To Zhang Tie, these bits of improvement needs to be accumulated over a few weeks or even months before its effectiveness could be felt and understood.
Among the improvements that was observed, the most distinct is the color of the Light Point. Since the beginning of training his divine Palace years ago, Zhang Tie cultivated from the lowest red to orange, yellow, green and to the current teal, with the next stages being blue and purple. After purple stage, he can ignite his Will Fire.
Base on his experience, he will at least need another one and a half years to complete the final two stages. This cultivation speed is not considered far nor slow, it is basically the same speed as most people, the period after graduating from school and during their first year of military service is where the majority cross this significant milestone in life.