Chapter 1: Arrival of Black Iron Age
Translator: WQL Editor: Geoffrey
After raining for a night, the breathless coal ash was cleaned off. Rarely breathing fresh air, Zhang Tie walked alone on the road to school. “It should be more azure without the black smoke from the towering chimneys rising into the sky,” he thought while absent-mindedly striding over the black puddles on the cement ground. After it rained, the remaining water on the ground was black and smelt like the coal ash in the mill areas. While this city brought people a sense of safety, it also brought the feeling of being bound and the feeling of congestion. Looking into the distance, Zhang Tie found the huge chimneys to be pretty dazzling under the crystal blue sky.
Teacher said that chimneys symbolized human civilization and guaranteed the prosperity and survival of human beings. Those upright chimneys, however, reminded Zhang Tie of his p*nis and the black smoke his seminal fluid. They polluted the air like how the liquid polluted his underwear. Although he couldn’t remember who was in his dream last night, for the third time this week, he could feel something sticky inside his underwear. In this age that severely lacked living necessities, Zhang Tie only had four pairs of underwear. Two pairs were tailored from his father’s torn sweaters, while the other two were his brother’s hand-me-downs. As it was always raining these days, two pairs of his underwear were still wet, including the current one. He only had the last half-dried one left; therefore, he had no other choice but to go to school miserably in this pair of underwear.
The half-wet, coarse cloth turned hard and felt uncomfortable in the trousers. As a result, he always felt pain on his d*ck. It also felt very cold; Zhang Tie couldn’t help but shiver. What’s more is the 15-year old’s d*ck got damaged. What torture!
It was said that human society owned rich materials before the Catastrophe. In that age, underwear was sold by the dozen. Moreover, many precious articles like cigarettes, wine, meat, and as well as various rare and eccentric goods could be easily bought from a place called the supermarket. At that time, an ordinary man could afford 40-70kgs of rice or wheat through a day of labor, which was enough for him to live for half to one month, or perhaps even longer. It was also said that a mysterious energy called “electricity” was made; human beings could use it to do many unimaginable things. Additionally, people also invented many great weapons which made them the only ruler on the celestial body. They were so arrogant that they held everything else in contempt. Unfortunately, what waited for the heyday was the Catastrophe.
Zhang Tie always thought that even the gods could not stand the unending greed of humans; therefore, it launched the Catastrophe and created the Star of God. As punishment, the gods beat human beings back from their peak into a simpler age. As a result, human beings lost all the magical powers brought by science and technology. They had neither electricity, nuclear power, explosives, nor those amazing weapons. According to the most accepted saying, there was some particle in the unknown rays carried by the Star of God that greatly changed all micro components of the substances on the celestial body. Take the original star as a pot of plain water. Once the almighty god or any celestial beings found human beings uncomfortable, they could spray a hand of salt or pepper powder onto it casually, and as a result, the plain water was no longer plain. Likewise, the star was not the very same either.
After the catastrophe, what people felt was fortunate might be that steel and iron were still as hard as before; they could be used to cast into cutleries, swords, and armors for the army. Black coal was still combustible; they could still bring light, heat, and energy to human beings. In other words, everything made from the above two such as cutleries, swords, armor, thermal energy, and steam engines would be the last dependence of human beings in this age…
It was more than a 40 minutes walk distance between home and school. Zhang Tie had to go through the slums in the western parts of Blackhot city and the barren region at the margin of the urban mill district before he arrived at school. The name of Blackhot City originated from the Blackhot Mountain next to the city. It was said that Blackhot Mountain was one of the longest mountain ranges on Kun’ang Continent before the Catastrophe. Back then, people created an aircraft that could fly faster than sound; however, it still took the aircraft several months to fly across the range from one end to the other. Take Blackhot City for instance. It was actually a fine branch south of the Blackhot Mountain Range. It stretched over 20,000km, a length that many people would not traverse in their whole lives.
When the Catastrophe arrived, the Kun’ang Continent, which covered hundreds of millions of square miles, was divided into pieces due to the tremendous geological and plate movements, akin to a loaf of bread being split by kids. Numerous parts formed, while the others directly disappeared. Through vicissitudes, people today could not imagine the magnificence of Blackhot Mountain and the grandeur of this vast continent. Even now, the world was still too large for everyone. The location 800km west and north of Blackhot City has yet to be explored; it was still an unknown. However, the area where Blackhot City was located, south of the Blackhot Mountain Range, covered more than 400 million square km. More than 9 billion lived here. It was a gathering of numerous countries, city-states, and clan forces; however, it was merely a slim and narrow belt on the map of the whole continent. With lofty mountains on the northernmost and westernmost regions and vast oceans on the southernmost and easternmost regions, it was the area with high population density. On the map, it was named the Corridor of Blackson Human Clan.
After the Catastrophe, it took human beings about 100 years to find out what happened to the planet when the Catastrophe fell. It then took the remaining people almost 100 years to recover slightly. Unexpectedly, they found that human beings were no longer the only ruler of the planet. Those eccentric demons and dark clans from underground took human beings as delicious dim sum and slaves. They made the planet dangerous and posed several challenges to the survival of human beings.
Today marked the 889th year on the Black Iron Calendar after the Catastrophe. Human survivors continued to multiply and now stood firm on the Kun’ang Continent once again. Furthermore, driven by countless steel, iron, and steaming machines, they became ambitious to further explore the planet and convince the world that they were the rightful rulers once more.
Blackhot City was younger than 40 years; it was the symbol of humankind's rejuvenation and re-ignition of ambition. It was young compared to the numerous human countries and city-states in the southern area of the Blackhot Mountain Range. Blackhot City was founded by businessmen and mill owners. As an industrial city, it occupied a seat in the Andaman City-State Alliance Parliament. Same as most emerging cities in this age, the city relied on rich resources, which included rich coal and mineral resources. The entire city and its 3 million inhabitants were depending on the rich resources from underground the city. It was ruled by the Coal, Steel, and Iron Federation of Blackhot City (CSIF). Numerous steam locomotives would carry coal, steel, iron, cutleries, swords, and armors, as well as other weapons and equipment, out of this city from factories. Meanwhile, they also transported in goods from outside the city.
Under the most firm chimney was the mill where Zhang Tie’s father worked. As an iron and steel mill, it almost always ran around the clock. Ever since Zhang Tie was born into this world, the chimney always emitted black smoke. It witnessed the human’s decision to rejuvenate.
When Zhang Tie arrived at school, he found that Captain Kerlin, the military representative and educational director of the school, was standing upright like an iron tower at the school gates as he usually does. His ox-egg eyes gazing at each student entering the Seventh National School of Blackhot City seriously. He was patting an iron rod like a toothpick on his other hand, which produced a frightening sound. No student dared to look at his scary face that was covered by a black eye patch. They all passed as fast as they could, with their heads lowered.
“Stop!” A boy with bad luck standing not far from Zhang Tie was stopped. The thunder-like voice caused everyone to shiver. When they found out that they were not the one, they quickly lowered their heads and passed the gate while silently praying for the boy.
The poor boy turned pale. When he saw Captain Kerlin walking towards him, his legs shook heavily as he staggered, “Captain… Kerlin…”
As the most terrifying one-eyed man in the school, perhaps even in the whole Blackhot City, he preferred Captain Kerlin instead of Director Kerlin. It was a precious experience accumulated by numerous predecessors in this school at the cost of blood and tears. As Captain Kerlin could fight terrifying monsters, any resistance or struggle in front of this terrifying man was in vain and would only make him more thrilled.
Silently, Captain Kerlin simply pointed at the trousers of the boy with the iron stick in his hand. Perhaps due to the rain, there were some mud marks on the boy’s trousers; that would be seen as guilty by Captain Kerlin.
“I… I will clean it right away!”
With his wrist raised high, Captain Kerlin glanced at the shiny watch, slowly and expressionlessly. He held that pose silently for more than 10 seconds while he patted the iron stick, which produced a horrible sound.
Zhang Tie doubted that this guy aimed to just show off his valuable watch. When he patted the iron stick, it reminded Zhang Tie of a timber wolf wagging its tail.
“You know what will happen if I see you like this after school!”
“Yes… yes…” the boy hurriedly rushed into school after having been remitted. When Zhang Tie was curious as to why Captain Kerlin was so kind today, unexpectedly, the one-eyed man looked at Zhang Tie’s direction and rapidly arranged his mane-like hair. He stood upright, showing his well-developed pectoral muscles and made a magnificent pose. He raised his developed pectoral muscles and even shook them like a sexy lady. Besides that, a smile appeared on his ferocious face which almost frightened Zhang Tie.
“Miss Daina, good morning!”
A fragrant wind blew past Zhang Tie, as a mature and beautiful lady passed by him. Needless to say, Zhang Tie knew who was coming; the dream last night became clear now. Zhang Tie became breathless when he saw that exaggerated, undulant curve of her waist and hip from behind. With her beautiful curly brown hair, Goddess Daina entered the school gate under the thirsty look of all the male animals. The proud goddess nodded to the one-eyed man who greeted her. He instantly became thrilled, and his face turned red. As a result, the iron stick in his hand was bent, reflecting his horrible face.
Miss Daina was the very woman that all male students in the school desired to see in their dreams; they also fantasized about her when they masturbated. Her husband had died in the front lines soon after they got married. She was the goddess and the only scenery in the school. She was the flower on the cliff and the person whom Zhang Tie fell in love with secretly. She made the young beasts live an enthusiastic life.
“In two more years, I can afford a house downtown!” shouted the one-eyed man towards her back like a lion in heat — No, a disgusting and horny boar. Zhang Tie would even like to kill and replace him when he thought of the scene where Goddess Daina is groaning painfully under him…
“What are you looking at?” glancing at the rest of the people maliciously, the one-eyed man shouted. As a result, everybody, including Zhang Tie, lowered their heads and rolled through the school gates. Zhang Tie greedily smelt the last fragrance in the air. That beautiful and mature figure always made Zhang Tie self-abated. He was not even brave enough to have a face-to-face look at her. If Goddess Daina was a noble and beautiful swan flying elegantly over the tranquil late, then Zhang Tie felt that he would be a wild duckling that fell into a quagmire full of coal ash. Lowering his head, Zhang Tie gazed at the pair of old leather boots and became somewhat frustrated. What could a poor student like him give to Goddess Daina? Even Captain Kerlin was striving for her? **? How long would it take him to live downtown with high city walls like Captain Kerlin? Thirty or forty years? Thinking of this, Zhang Tie suddenly turned blue. However, the very thing inside his trousers, once again, became hard once he smelt the fragrance of a mature female in the air…
On the stony wall before him, several words were carved into it — WELCOME TO THE AGE OF BLACK IRON