Castle Of Black Iron - Volume 2 - Chapter 6
’’Alright dad, mum, you guys do not have to bother about me. Look at the weather, it is such a good day today, the two of you should go out and take a stroll, try the city park or the reservoir near the suburbs, there will be lots of people today, you two should enjoy the fresh air.
I am out every day and had my fair share of fun, let me look after the shop today and take some rest, there's training in school every day and your son badly needs the rest!’’
After lunch, Zhang Tie diligently cleaned the house before pushing his parents out of the house. His father needs to work six days a week, every day he is trapped in the production line of the factory, inhaling the dusty air. His mother fares even worst, everyday guarding their family's rice wine shop, stuck within that small space.
Therefore, when it is Sunday, Zhang Tie will find all sorts of reasons to ’’kick his parents out of the house’’ hoping that they can break away from the stresses of life and enjoy themselves as much as possible. As for him, he will stay and help his parents look after the rice wine shop.
Seeing their son being filial and thoughtful, both parents are naturally happy but before they left, Zhang Tie's mother still gave a couple of worrying nags, ’’Remember not to increase the prices first, when you see our regulars make sure to tell them about the rise in the price of the ingredients, remind them that if the price of the ingredients stay the same next week, we will need to adjust the price of our rice wine also. Since they are our regulars, we cannot make them feel that we are greedy for their money and offend them!’’
’’I know mum, you have repeated yourself for more than thirty times. Am I that unreliable?’’ Zhang Tie replied in grievance. He is already fifteen years old and is more than capable enough to handle such a small matter, yet his mother keeps reminding him like a small child or a retard, causing his pride to hurt a little.
’’When has it become more than thirty times, it is at most five times!’’ his mother glared at Zhang Tie, showing a gesture of pulling Zhang Tie's ear.
Zhang Tie quickly fled, making sure to turn around to stick out a tongue at his mother before running to their shop front and loudly shouted, ’’Zhang Family's freshly brewed rice wine, it is fragrant, sweet and good, men who drinks it will become strong, women who drinks it will become pretty, don't miss the chance if you are passing by, only six coppers per bowl, there's discount for those buying in bulk......’’
’’This kid......’’ his father smiled as he shakes his head.
As he watched his parents disappear down the street hand in hand, Zhang Tie raised his hand to feel that bit of fur that is beginning to grow under his chin, retracting his weird gaze only after a long time.
He is not sure the reason but for a couple that has been married for a few decades already, whenever his parents go out together, they will always hold each other's hand. This makes Zhang Tie feel that they are youths in love rather than an old couple, it gives him a weird and indescribable feeling.
Is this called being lovey-dovey? Zhang Tie did not know, frankly speaking, his life experience is too short and does not allow him to fully understand and appreciate it. However, when he observed his parents, it caused a strange sense of happiness to well up in his heart.
After his parents left, Zhang Tie boringly sat inside the shop, his hand holding on to a swatter, occasionally chasing some flies.
The sweet scent from the rice wine tend to attract flies, especially when the weather is hot. In a few more months, when summer is here, the shopfront will have no choice but to hang up a bamboo curtain to ward off the irritating bugs.
However, by hanging a curtain, it will block the rice wines that are strategically displayed to attract customers and inevitably cause a slight drop in sales. This trend is something that occurs every year and has never changed before.
In the peak of the noon, the street is shined by the blazing sun, the little birds on the Chinese Parasol Trees that are silent throughout winter began to appear, singing their songs. The motley Chinese Parasol Trees caused the roads to be mottled with light spots and shade.
Hanging outside the shop is a notice written by Zhang Tie's father ’’Due to an increase in the prices of ingredients, our shop will be adjusting the price of our products from next week onward. We hope to gain your patience and understanding for this decision....’’
If it was Tang De that guy, he would have increase the price of rice wine immediately on the first day, he will not be like his cute dad and delay the increase of prices only after a week.
As Zhang Tie boringly sat in the shop for 30 minutes, a few small sales were made where a few bowls of rice wine were sold. After keeping the coppers inside the drawer and placing the bowls and utensils used by the customers into the washing basin, the swatter is back in his hand but one will notice that the energy of the person holding the item is getting more and more weak.
Zhang Tie is feeling very bored. As a growing youth, at an age where their energy is near boundless, he must stay in a place and chase flies, it is only natural that he will be bored as hell.
However, the more he felt bored, the more Zhang Tie respects his mother. He has only been seating here for a short period and already felt the boredom but his mother has been doing this for twenty years.
When a person is bored, they will always find something to do. For Zhang Tie, what he chose is to practice <<Godly Abacus Mental Arithmetic >>. This skill has many tiers, the lowest tier is the one he practiced last night that requires him to close his eyes, visualize the image of an abacus and use it.
At the second tier, there is no need to close his eyes. At this realm, he can instantly visualize the abacus and start calculating immediately when needed. This is after all a practical skill, if it requires him to spend a few hours just to visualize and not allowing him to open his eyes on top of that, then it will be a skill that is as useful as fart.
At the third tier, the abacus in his mind will be in a semi-permanent state, whenever he does calculations in his mind, the answer will immediately appear in front of him. Completing this stage will also mean that he has grasp the essence of the skill.
After this stage, the foundation is considered built. The next step is to increase the number of vertical files on the abacus. Starting from the most basic three columns all the way to twelve columns or even more.
At the highest realm of <<Godly Abacus Mental Arithmetic >>, he can either visualize multiple sets of abacus and perform multiple calculations at the same time or segregate the columns of a long abacus into different areas and perform different calculations in each area at the same time, both methods will eventually require him to develop the ability to multitask.
When he reaches this stage, he will be able to calculate and obtain answers of complex calculations instantly, turning him into a human calculator.
Zhang Tie is sceptical on the part about multitasking at the highest tier of the skill, doubting that a human can perform so many tasks at the same time.
However, when he remembered those blurry words ’’Recommended Out-of-Curriculum Teaching Material for Primary School Students’’ at the bottom of the book, Zhang Tie felt disparaged, where in the world can you find such awesome primary school students.
Zhang Tie is beginning to suspect that the old guy who sold him the book might be speaking the truth, that this <<Godly Abacus Mental Arithmetic >>might really be something that was obtained from some ruins before the Cataclysm.
Due to the different culture and environment before the Cataclysm, all sorts of weird and mysterious things that could not be understood can be found in the ruins. Even crystals are viewed only as simple materials for accessories in the past, maybe this book might be a worthless teaching material for primary school students in the past also?
Anyhow, he should learn it first, it seems that when practicing the <<Godly Abacus Mental Arithmetic >>it can assist in the recovery of mental power. Zhang Tie would like to confirm the effects of this aspect of the skill.
As his thoughts trailed off, the two vertical file abacus in his mind collapsed. It looks like recovering mental power is not easy...
Zhang Tie repeatedly visualize the abacus with his eyes half closed as he sat behind the counter of the shop. Eventually, when he manages to reduce the visualization time from more than ten minutes to less than six minutes, two unexpected figures appeared in front of Zhang Tie.
The damnable Fat Barry and Doug, the two of them are riding on a bicycle. Doug the fool is panting roughly as he strenuously paddled the bicycle, an idiotic blissful smile is found on his face that is covered in sweat. The cunning fatty on the other hand, is seating behind Doug leisurely scanning the streets.
The moment Zhang Tie saw them, Barry also saw him.
’’Here we are, brake!’’ Fat Barry shouted as he jumps off the back seat of the bike agilely.
Doug who was wearing a blissful smile just a second ago, suddenly gave an alarming shout, ’’Ah, brakes, where's the brakes, how can I stop, ah... save me... ah...’’
’’Bastard, this is a new bicycle that my damn dad bought for me recently!’’
Zhang Tie helplessly placed a hand on his forehead and painfully closed his eyes......
After two minutes, the bickering duo sat in front of Zhang Tie's shop. Looking at expanding nostrils of Doug swallowing his saliva and the ’’asking to be beaten’’ face of Barry, Zhang Tie can only curse in his mind before retrieving two spoons and used a ladle to scoop a bowl of rice wine for each of them, grudgingly pushing the two bowls to them.
The two fellas smiled widely, without a word of thanks, they took up the bowls and drank it within three big gulps, licking the bowls clean in the process.
Looking at how Doug is creating circles with his tongue on the bowl, Zhang Tie nearly used his ladle to give his head a good knock. Can he be anymore disgusting then this? To be safe, I better use boiling water to disinfect the bowl he used.
Looking at the curry favoring smiles on their faces, Zhang Tie quickly collected the bowls and utensils and look at them like a stern boss, ’’The first round is on me, if you want another bowl it will be six coppers each, do you still want more?’’
Doug shot a pleading look at Barry, the damn fatty dig into his waist and took out a fistful of coppers, ’’That is delicious, another bowl for each of us!’’
Zhang Tie did not hesitate and quickly swipe the money from the table. After keeping the coins in the drawer, he scooped another two bowls of rice wine for them.
After finishing their second bowl, Doug displayed an unwillingly look as Zhang Tie collected the bowls. Although Doug gave another pleading look at Barry but he was ignored, Barry turned away and focused his attention on Zhang Tie.
’’Ke... Ke... What is this called, rice wine?’’
’’Correct, it is rice wine. You are looking for me?’’
’’Heh heh, house visits are a tradition of our Airplane Brotherhood’’ Barry smiled.
’’Good to know. If you have any urgent stuff, quickly say it. With each second wasted, I am losing a few hundred thousand......’’
’’Have you heard of the Red Scarf Bandits?’’
Zhang Tie got slightly alarm upon hearing Barry bringing up the Red Scarf Bandits, ’’I have heard of them, what about it?’’
Barry looked at his surroundings before lowering his voice and repeated the information that Zhang Tie has heard from his brother, ’’I have only gotten this news last night and went around to inform the members today. It is likely not many have heard of this news yet but during this period, it is better to be careful and avoid going out at night or leave the city. The Red Scarfs are ruthless butchers, I hope our members will not be caught by them due to some bad luck.’’
’’Of course, do you think Doug and I came out to play in this hot sun? After informing you, I still need to go find Sven and Sista. Since it is done, I should let you continue your hundred thousand per second business now...’’
Looking at Barry's fat face, Zhang Tie felt slightly touched, ’’Thank you brother!’’
’’Then treat me another bowl!’’ Barry shamelessly demanded.
Zhang Tie raised his hand and show him the finger that everyone knows.
’’Ha... Ha... then I am off!’’ Barry patted the bicycle parked beside him, urging Doug to get on it.
As Doug pushed the bicycle out onto the street, he turned and explained to Zhang Tie. ’’Barry says... that learning how to cycle makes it easier to attract girls!’’
’’Rest assured, I will not tell anyone. Your cycling skills are the best!’’ Zhang Tie raised a thumb.
Doug feeling satisfied, nodded his head and left on the bicycle, ferrying Barry away with him.
Zhang Tie did not expect the news regarding the Red Scarfs to spread so quickly, in a short span of two days, it is beginning to bring anxiety to the people in the city.
Thinking about this matter is pointless, I should just focus on my <<Godly Abacus Mental Arithmetic >>.
Red Scarf Bandits or whatnot has nothing to do with a nobody like him, Zhang Tie laughed as he mocks at himself.
As the sun sets, his parents also returned home, bringing along with them is news that the city is stepping up security and the patrols will be checking the identity of anyone who is wondering at night from now on.
During dinner, the local security officer of the neighborhood, Gregory, visited their home. The officers are visiting every home to notify them not to allow strangers to stay overnight, report any suspicious person seen and there is a curfew after midnight from now on......
After Barry and Doug left, within half a day, news about the Red Scarfs have spread throughout the city, a state of unrest also begun to spread through the city.
However, this has nothing to do with Zhang Tie. After dinner, when the officer left, Zhang Tie washed up and returned to his room to enter the Castle of Black Iron.
After throwing the trash bag from the kitchen into the Lake of Chaos, Zhang Tie dusted his hands and opened the Castle Attributes interface,
Castle of Black Iron
- Length: 1 Krosa
- Width: 1 Krosa
- Spirit Energy: 1.8
- Merit: 43
- Basic Energy Stored: 0.5
- Specialties Produced: None
Having his parents leave the house to enjoy themselves while he manages the shop today has earned him 5 Merit Points. After doing the chores, he earned another 3 more, thus earning a total of 8 Merit Points today.
The sprouting potatoes also increased his Spirit Energy to 1.1 while the trash bag earned him 0.3 Basic Energy.
This is his harvest for today......
As he looked at the treasure tree, the Leak Prevention Fruit still needs another 103 hours to mature...
As he is not feeling tired, Zhang Tie sat down and crossed his legs.
In his hands is his crystal that he left on the window and has absorbed sunlight throughout the day. Zhang Tie intends to use the calming effects of the color mist in the Castle to quickly enter the state of meditation and cultivate his divine Palace Light Point.
Although this his first time cultivating a Light Point inside the Castle, the results are as expected and he manage to quickly enter the state of meditation. As he used his breathing and the dual effects of the crystal and his will, the divine Palace began to release a teal light within a short span of time...
Only by constantly improving one's abilities can you obtain the greatest support to survive in this era. And to increase your abilities, other than putting in effort and working hard, there is no other methods or shortcuts available - This is belief that Zhang Tie abides for the past 15 years.
Even with the Castle of Black Iron, it will still be the same......