Chapter 3 - Castle of Black Iron

Chapter 3: Fight

Translator: WQL Editor: Geoffrey

Each operating table was an iron desk that was longer than a meter. A rotary vice clamp was fixed on one end of each iron desk, and tools were placed in the tool slot at the front of the desk. The tools included: a hand saw, file, hammer, chisel, screw tap, incisor, straight steel ruler, divider calipers, scratch awl, and vernier calipers. On the other end of the table, there was a set of pedal-type grinder and an anvil that was placed beside the grinders. This was the most common and the cheapest operating table that was meant for apprentices. It was said that the senior operating tables were matched with a steam-powered module and a melting furnace. As for the experienced workers, a senior operating table was enough because they could make almost everything on it.

With his plan in mind, Zhang Tie instantly put on his work uniform and wore his protective goggles. He then started with the largest steel wire. As he had no special steel wire control panel, he had to utilize the existing tools to process it. He fixed the steel wire and the wooden board onto the jaw vice. He then placed the core well inside and fixed one head of the steel wire onto it. After rotating it clockwise carefully, he checked and found no problems, thus he continued to rotate it. Generally, it was not that hard. After a while, Zhang Tie had almost finished his first spring. He counted the number of spring circles and cut off the excess circles on the anvil. He then grinded the two burry ends of the steel wire with the grinder, and finally, the simplest column-type spring was made. He tested it and found it to be truly flexible. Zhang Tie’s spirit rose and finished the remaining two springs easily. It took him a bit more time to complete the round hook. By comparison, when Zhang Tie was working hard on a round hook with a chisel, someone else had already finished three springs. Finally, the bald man walked inside and answered the questions of the students who raised their hands. He checked each student’s three works and explained tempering heat treatment on the springs. He emphasized that the ends of the springs should be round and tightened. He then solved problems regarding the coiling of springs and the creation of internal and external torque arm tools. The students then had another try. Three hours in the morning soon passed in this fashion…

The students ate lunch in the school cafeteria. This was also a benefit of the school, although the food was not that good. They often saw no oil for a couple of weeks, and the food could only sated their hunger, but was not enough to fill them. Even then, the crowd that rushed towards the cafeteria at lunch time was really horrible. According to the arrangements of the school, cafeterias were divided by grades, and even the number of diners was fixed. As the number of dining plates was always less than the number of students in each grade’s cafeteria, there were always some people with bad luck that failed to get their lunch at each noon. As a result, they would directly pass out on the playground where they accepted military skills training in the afternoon. Zhang Tie himself had encountered this occasion twice. From then on, he deeply understood the first rule in the Age of Black Iron, namely striving to fill his stomach.

The only rule in the school cafeteria was to line up; therefore, if you didn’t want to part of the starved group, you would have to line up as soon as possible. Besides that, you should also be strong enough in case of aggression from others. Certainly, luck was also very important.

Take this time for instance.

Zhang Tie was standing in the middle of the line. After three hours of classes, the group of fifteen or sixteen-year-old male students were starved. The line was already long, while many students continued to in. Thankfully, Zhang Tie slipped away extremely fast after class. Otherwise, he might have had no food today. When the slowest students arrived at the end of the line gloomily, the students at the front had already gotten their lunch and were ready to eat it. Right then, the noisy school cafeteria suddenly became quiet. Zhang Tie looked back and found a group of people led by Glaze swaggering over. Although they arrived last, they didn’t line up at all. Instead, they strutted directly to the front of the line. Seeing this group, the students who had just received the dining plates turned pale.

F*ck, disgusting craps. They do this every noon! Zhang Tie verbally abused inwardly.

“Ho ho, sorry to trouble you today!” They moved in front of the students who were receiving lunch. Speaking kindly, they showed off an arrogant air with their heads raised and nose towards the sky. They crossed their arms while showing a smile of ridicule. They looked at the students, whose faces had already turned pale, like what a cat would do to a mouse.

“Mother f*ckers! They’re really arrogant!” Zhang Tie abused in a low voice.

“You can also be arrogant and grab others’ food like them if you are able to beat them!”

“It’s said that Glaze has already passed the examination and is qualified to be a LV 2 soldier. Two burning points inside him have already been ignited. Seventh National Middle School has not seen such a great figure for many years!”

TL note: The more burning points ignited, the greater the soldier would be.

“He was just born strong; he nothing to be proud of. They are just simple-minded guys with well-developed limbs. Are they attracting the school party in this naive method just to gain a recommendation?”

“Humph… humph… no more jealousy. He’s born with that exceptional aptitude, and they are much stronger than us, so we should stay away from them……”

“He has a great dad, a big figure in the CSIF!”

“Big figure? Bah! He’s just a head guard !”

“Naturally, those behind him are also big figures!”

“I will never concede to that motherf*cker! No matter the reason!”

“They will beat you when you walk out the school gate, and it will take you one month to get up. Isn’t that enough of a reason?”

When the people beside Zhang Tie discussed in a low voice, the boys being grabbed walked over dejectedly. When seeing the unlucky fellows, some showed looks of sympathy, while others looked cold. However, nobody dared to comfort them, not even with a single word. Each student at the school had to strive for themselves. This was why the cafeteria was several dining plates short everyday. If you didn’t fight for yourself, nobody would fight for you. As for the weak people, they had no options. They either had to submit to humiliation or suffer from nosebleeds and broken bones.

Seeing the gloomy and embarrassed passersby reminded Zhang Tie of something. What would I do if it were me? What if they grab my beloved Daina instead of just a dining plate? What would I do? Zhang Tie suddenly became worried. It seemed that he had already seen the desperate and weeping face of Miss Daina. The teenager felt painful inside.


The youth growled inside like a beast


The second floor of the cafeteria was for teachers. There were also several pairs of eyes peering over from behind the glass wall.

“LV 2 soldier. He was so powerful in front of those kids. Glaze himself could easily beat a dozen of them easily. He has such a physical advantage!”

“The group led by Glaze was composed of four people. By comparison, there were several hundred people behind them. They simply understood half of teachers’ patient lessons and had learned how to compete and fight for their own lives, but they ignored the other half — teamwork, which was extremely critical to their survival……”

“This was the difference between human beings and beasts. No matter how weak they are alone, weak individuals can be powerful enough to take down a strong beast once they have united.”

“They might understand this in the future...”

“I will see who among them can realize it first!”

The voices behind the glass wall gradually became unclear amidst the sounds of friction from the forks and knifes and the crunching of food.

Although Zhang Tie had no appetite, he still ate his poor lunch. He then queued up and seriously washed his dining plates and dinnerwares under a water faucet. After giving them back to the cafeteria, he felt somewhat frustrated, as the desperate and weeping face of Daina constantly appeared in his mind as if it truly had happened. He walked away with his head lowered; he became more depressed whenever he occasionally noticed the pair of heavily worn leather shoes with two patches on it. When he walked into the woods close to the school, he found himself surrounded by several people.

“Are you still satisfied with what you did to us this morning?” A fist had already landed on his stomach before he had realized. Zhang Tie almost vomited his lunch. Bending over painfully, Zhang Tie finally realized what was happening. “!@#$! I’m surrounded by them. I already noticed their hostility in class, so I shouldn’t have forgotten that.”

“Beat him!” the moment the bent over Zhang Tie heard this voice, he found a pair of feet in front of him. Without thinking, he instantly tried his best to hug the pair of feet, and surprisingly, he knocked him over. Zhang Tie then quickly threw himself onto the opponent and punched the boy’s nose before the he had realized what was happening. As a result, the guy fell flat on his back...