Chapter 96: A Small Figure’s Selfishness
Translator: WQL Editor: Geoffrey
On the highest point of Wild Wolf Castle, besides the blue flag, there was another flag; there was a red flag raised up, which meant that important news or a notice had been released. Even from several kilometers away from Wild Wolf Castle, everyone could see that red flag.
On the evening when Zhang Tie had sent back Pandora and a group of girls who had wanted to form a team with the Hit-Plane Brotherhood to Wild Wolf Castle, Zhang Tie had already known of the contents of that notice.
Compared to the amazed expressions of the other members of the Hit-Plane Brotherhood, Zhang Tie had already mentally prepared himself for the arrival of this piece of news. While everyone in Wild Wolf Valley was noisily discussing the situation in Blackhot City, not a single one of them knew that Zhang Tie was the one who had accidentally triggered the entire incident in Blackhot City. This event was the hottest topic both in Wild Wolf Valley and Blackhot City. As for the identity of the one that had sent out the letter which started the entire incident in Blackhot City, nobody was able to give an answer; however, the government of Blackhot City did exert all their efforts in an attempt to find this person, but in the end, it was still not enough to reverse the flow of time back to the day when the mysterious person had sent that letter through the mailbox by the post office located in the city square of Blackhot City. It had already turned into a secret that would never be revealed. It was only when this event had broken out in Blackhot City that everyone knew that the Red-scarf Burglars, who were well-prepared and were conspiring with the Niumuen Business Group to take over Blackhot City both internally and externally, had been lurking in a hidden location that was less than 150 km away from Blackhot City. When the Niumuen Business Group was swept out by the army of Blackhot City and had schemes exposed, the Red-scarf Burglars retreated from their hiding spot like a pack of wolves, and when they had reappeared, they caused a disaster in Lance City and involved the Sun Dynasty in this chaos, leading them to confronting the Andaman Alliance.
“Mysterious Warner”—that was the nickname that Zhang Tie had received when the incident broke out in Blackhot City. Some said that the “Mysterious Warner’, the person who had started the incident in Blackhot City, was a bandit that was part of the Red-scarf Burglars, some said that this “Mysterious Warner” was a top fighter who lived in seclusion in Blackhot City, while there were also some who said that this “Mysterious Warner” was a political enemy of Marshal Lin Changjiang, the governor of the northern border of the Norman Empire… There were all kinds of speculations about the “Mysterious Warner”; however, no one had guessed that the “Mysterious Warner” was actually just an ordinary youth from an ordinary national male middle school situated in Blackhot City that was currently attending a survival training in Wild Wolf Valley. Not to mention, the same youth had even almost destroyed an influential figure’s intention to obtain recovery medication in Blackhot City.
Sometimes, there were rumors that were grounded with strong logic, and there were also various possibilities that seemed true; however, truth was something that was always extremely dramatic, as the people’s daily lives and the earthly world doesn’t give one the opportunity to be rational and logical. This was just like a famous story on the well-known Butterfly Effect. There was once a blacksmith who had dropped a nail on the ground, which later injured a horse’s hoof. Because the horse was wounded, the knight who rode it lost a battle, which directly influenced the war between two nations, finally leading to the destruction of a country.
Zhang Tie had learned this theory in science class at school. It was only when he had heard of the incident in Blackhot City did Zhang Tie realize that what he had rightly done was drop the nail that wounded the horse’s hoof. After walking into Huck, who had already been killed by Zhang Tie, near the railway station, he had changed so many things.
The “nail” had truly changed some of the details and slowed the development of the situation; however, the Norman Empire and the Sun Dynasty were already rolling without stop towards the Andaman Alliance and Blackhot City, much like huge wheels with unstoppable momentum. Just the start of the huge, rolling wheels had already created great waves in Wild Wolf Valley.
Many of the people here had to serve in the army after graduation, which meant that they would have to directly face these two huge forces, the Norman Empire and the Sun Dynasty, and perhaps they may even fight the army of these two countries on the battlefield, thus all the students attending the survival training in Wild Wolf Valley felt as if a huge burden had been placed on their fates. Facing the incoming and uncertain future, many people felt confused and frightened.
Tonight, with the exception of Zhang Tie, everyone else in the Hit-Plane Brotherhood was trying their best to cultivate the basic skills of Iron-Blood Fist. They continued to do so until they were all extremely fatigued and were gasping as they laid on the grass.
In truth, Zhang Tie could actually stick to it for a while longer; however, when he saw Bagdad, with eyes fixed on him, practicing the Lying-Tiger Stake as the blue veins on his forehead especially stood out, Zhang Tie could only pretend to be exhausted before throwing himself onto the ground. Ten seconds after Zhang Tie had “given up”, Bagdad, who was no longer able to hold on, also heaved a deep sigh and ended his practice. For Bagdad, if he couldn’t remain the strongest fighter in the Hit-Plane Brotherhood, then it would be a great strike to his pride.
Two moons hung in the sky—one was a silver crescent, while the other was a pale blue full moon; one was big, while the other was small. The moonlight cascaded down and enveloped Wild Wolf Valley with a layer of a beautiful, pale blue, and white brilliance. Accompanied by the two moons, the stars in the sky looked particularly splendent, the cicadas on the Dragon-Claw Trees were chirping, the crickets in the grass were tweeting, while the howls of the looming wolves drifted over; the entire Wild Wolf Valley was extremely tranquil.
The members of the Hit-Plane Brotherhood simply laid there and silently looked at the sky for more than ten minutes.
“If I was killed on the battlefield, someone who is still alive among you must remember to hand over my pension to my family since that amount of money could allow my two younger brothers to live a bit better!” Sharwin silently opened his mouth. Sharwin was good in all aspects, except he was too pessimistic sometimes.
“You’d better stay alive. If you die, we would only use your pension to sleep with women and let your bastard dad and two younger brothers go to hell!” Hista cursed.
“Bastard!” Sharwin cursed in a low voice before he laughed out loudly.
“I heard the Iron-Horn Army Group under the flagship of Lin Changjiang, the governor of the Northern Border Army Group of Norman Empire, and the Brilliant Feathers of the Sun Dynasty are both composed of war maniacs and madmen. Do you think we might encounter them?” Doug said dejectedly.
“Don’t be that pessimistic. We should not be that unlucky to have to fight against the armies of the Norman Empire and the Sun Dynasty. As for the entire Andaman Alliance, those two countries are two super powers, each of whom is much more powerful than the Andaman Alliance. Because of this great gap in force, if there truly is a battle with any one of the two countries, the Andaman Alliance would definitely lose. Since the wealthy big figures are definitely more afraid of death than us, I think that a war would not break out. For the Andaman Alliance, this is a war that they are doomed to lose, and they would never bet on this war at the risk of their own lives. Two kids with the same strength might fight over a piece of candy, but a tough man would never fight a kid, let alone two tough men fighting a kid at the same time...” Lying on the ground, Leit said so.
“Hmm, I feel that Leit’s words are reasonable. We don’t need to feel that stressed!” Barley added.
“Even if a war doesn’t break out, the Andaman Alliance would still not have a bright future. In the history of Blackson Human Clan Corridor, it has always consisted of at most 70 city-states; however, this number has been gradually decreasing. In the end, every city-state would see one of two outcomes. The first would be the emergence of a talented or mighty figure who would unite them all into a country. The other would be that the city-states would break apart and be annexed by the surrounding powers. For the Andaman Alliance, it doesn’t have a talented or mighty figure, and under their eyes, the Norman Empire and the Sun Dynasty would never allow it to become a united country, thus the final outcome for the Andaman Alliance and Blackhot City might be being annexed by either the Norman Empire or the Sun Dynasty. Once annexed, this region would face high coercion for at least the next few dozen years. If this matter cannot be settled through peaceful manners, then even if we don’t die on the battlefields, we would not be able to live well in the future...” Sharwin continued to speak in a pessimistic way.
Hearing Sharwin’s words, everyone became silent once again. No one rebutted, as they all knew that Sharwin was telling the heaviest and undeniable truth.
“So you’re saying that even if we’re not cannon fodder on the battlefield, we would be slaves after our country dies. Hmm, although the Andaman Alliance and Blackhot City cannot be considered a country, it's almost the same!” Hista said dejectedly.
“For this event, I feel… it will be settled through peaceful means!” Barley said in an unconfident and low voice.
“But, I have always felt that something is off. The Andaman Alliance, the Sun Dynasty, and the Norman Empire have maintained peace for over half a century, so why are they giving us trouble now at the same time?” Doug suddenly hit the key point like an idiot.
Not knowing the reason, when he heard Doug’s words, Zhang Tie suddenly thought back to the squirrels that were busily storing pine nuts in the trees to survive through the winter.
“No matter what reason it is, if it is related to us, we will know about it sooner or later. That’s why, we don’t need to rack our brains on that matter...” Bagdad gloomily said. “The most important thing for us right now is to improve our own strength. As you know, in this age, people without strength will not have freedom. Only when we have strength could we control our own fate. If we are well-practiced in the Iron-Blood Fist Skill, then why would we need to be concerned about these boring questions?”
“Bighead, why are you silent? Aren’t you worried...” Lying on the ground, Barley turned his head and asked Zhang Tie.
“I think you are all right. But to tell you the truth, I don’t really care about the future of Blackhot City and the Andaman Alliance too much. Perhaps it is because I am Chinese, a minority in Blackhot City of the Andaman Alliance. I am not able to assume any more responsibilities for the fate of the Andaman Alliance and Blackhot City. My family has already sacrificed one life for the Andaman Alliance and Blackhot City. No matter what, I do not want my family to sacrifice another life for them, and neither would I make such a sacrifice. I only have a few desires in my life. As long as my loved ones can live well, as long as I have enough money and beloved women, then I will be satisfied...” Looking at the beautiful stars in the sky, Zhang Tie forced a smile. What happened in Blackhot City and the Andaman Alliance really shocked him a lot. Although he had changed the speed of the development to some degree, he realized he couldn’t change the final outcome. At the very least, the fate of his loved ones have not changed at all. This was the cause of the feelings of frustrations and powerlessness that small figures would feel.
Bagdad’s words were true. Instead of hoping for the world to develop like your imagination, it was better to make yourself stronger, as this was true strength. In contrast, everything else was bullsh*t. For Zhang Tie himself, if he wanted to become powerful, he would have to depend on the Castle of Black Iron and the small tree within.
Although Zhang Tie had never thought that he was selfish, sometimes, the Castle of Black Iron and the small tree brought Zhang Tie a sense of selfishness. If this age could be seen as a large wheel that was rolling forward, then Zhang Tie felt that, with the exception of himself, who was someone who could jump out of its path and stay in his own world, everyone else could only be chased by the large wheel that surged forth as they oozed sweat all over. The world where Zhang Tie stayed in was also a wheel that only belonged to Zhang Tie. Although it was very small, Zhang Tie could happily push it forward in a speed faster than the others. Soon after, the others would be far behind him and his world. Zhang Tie felt that he was truly a bit heartless; although everyone else was concerned about the future of Blackhot City and the Andaman ALliance, he was just thinking about how many mining baskets filled with ores he should move into the Castle of Black Iron in order to quickly increase the amount of basic energy storage inside. While everyone was worried about turning into slaves in the occupied areas in the future, Zhang Tie was thinking about his circumcision after the completion of the survival training. “ Damn it! It truly does not feel good to be a virgin among a group of horny students.” Honestly, Zhang Tie really didn’t think that the fate of the Andaman Alliance and Blackhot city was more important than his circumcision surgery. “Am I selfish? If this is being selfish, then I prefer to be selfish. Who f*cking decided that the future of the Andaman Alliance and Blackhot City is more important than my future? Who the f*ck decided that the ‘sexual pleasures’ of the privileged figures are more important than my ‘sexual pleasures’? Who the f*ck decided that a small figure like me has to share difficulties with the big figures, but not the pleasures? F*ck, I will do what I can do and I will enjoy myself. So what!?”
In the current situation, it was as if many naked people were struggling to rush forward in the snowfield in order to escape the snowstorm that was chasing them. In contrast, Zhang Tie was sitting inside the train and was eating hot pot, leaving the group of people behind along with the “crack crack” sounds made by the moving train. This was another lifestyle that had been brought by the Castle of Black Iron and that small tree. If he didn’t have the small tree and the Castle of Black Iron, then Zhang Tie would have been just like them; he would have been a member of the people rushing forward in the snowfield as they tried to escape from the snowstorm that was chasing them. Fortunately, he had that small tree and the Castle of Black Iron, allowing him to sit in the train to enjoy hot pot. If he could enjoy such a good treatment, then why not enjoy it? Anyone with a normal mind would make this choice!
It was Zhang Tie’s turn to be on duty for the first half of the evening tonight. Crouching in a pit on the tree, Zhang Tie watched and listened to the surroundings while visualizing an abacus in his mind as he practiced mental arithmetic using the abacus. He practiced various operations. He did addition and subtraction with numbers between 1 to 1000. He did multiplication with any two digit numbers, any two digit numbers with three digit numbers, and any two digit numbers with four digit numbers; he had even done the reverse with division. Over the past few days, Zhang Tie hadn’t give up on practicing mental arithmetics using the abacus, and as a result, he has made steady improvements to his calculation skills. Now, with just a glimpse, he would easily get the answer of any addition or subtraction problem within three digits, and any multiplication or division problem between two digit numbers. Additionally, as a benefit of his boring yet self-gratifying training, his spiritual energy had also gradually increased. Compared to his spiritual energy when he had started the survival training, Zhang Tie’s spiritual energy had already increased by about 2%.
It was only when Barley had replaced him for the second half of the night did Zhang Tie climb back into his own hole to sleep. At the sight of Zhang Tie, Barley was also curious. While the others always looked extremely tired the morning after their duty, how come this guy becomes even more high-spirited when he finishes his duty? Could it be that he had adapted to the nightlife?
After he finished practicing mental arithmetic using the abacus, Zhang Tie lied down, but he did not fall asleep; instead, he silently injected his spiritual energy into the Trouble-Reappearance Fruit, leading to him entering another virtual world...
It was the same dusk, the same valley, the same path, the same grass where the wolves had drilled out and charged towards him. Zhang Tie waved his dagger towards them...
Several minutes later, the three wolves turned into corpses once again. Looking at that wound on his hand that was left by the sharp fang of one of the wolves, Zhang Tie shook his head…
Everything turned into specks of lights.
One minute later, after Zhang Tie injected his spiritual energy into that Trouble-Reappearance Fruit to activate the same scene once again, Zhang Tie entered it for the second time tonight.
It was the same dusk, the same valley, the same path, and the same grass...
This time, Zhang Tie changed his “trick”. Before the wolves had drilled out of the grass, Zhang Tie had already rushed into the grass to fight the three wolves with his dagger. However, after this trial, Zhang Tie realized that grass was more restrictive to humans than it was to wolves. In fact, the latter even had more advantages in the grass. The result of this fight was that Zhang Tie once again became afraid of death and pain...
Zhang Tie then exited the scene and rushed inside one minute later...
Zhang Tie repeated this process until his spiritual energy was exhausted. When he could no longer activate the Trouble-Reappearance Fruit, he fell asleep.
The other members of the Hit-Plane Brotherhood would never know that this guy sleeping beside them had already experienced eight life-or-death fights with three wolves in a hidden place which only existed in Zhang Tie’s mind within half an hour since he finished his duty. Through fighting many times, Zhang Tie had suffered less wounds than before, and the three wolves had died faster than before...
Before he fell asleep, one last thought appeared in his mind—maybe I should jump into that deep hole left by the Gold-Eating Boas again tomorrow and see what kind of feeling it will give...
 Butterfly Effect: A small matter triggers successively bigger events. Read more here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butterfly_effect