When Zhang Tie came back to the Wild Wolf Castle, it was already in chaos.
Before returning here, he had passed by the tree house. Seeing the line: 'We are in the Wild Wolf Castle!', Zhang Tie knew that Barley's group had already went back.
The words were of course written for Zhang Tie. Since Barley's group had predicted that Zhang Tie would definitely come back to the tree house to check on them after seeing the signal, they left this line for him.
At this time, many students' faces were covered with helplessness and fear. When the huge war machines of the Norman Empire came to fly above their heads, all those who had never seen them before were really shocked. Everyone felt dwarfed.
Although Blackhot City had its own airships, they were just dozens of meters in length. Floating above the city, they were mainly used as watch towers by the City Guard. However, compared to the airships of the Norman Empire, they were just rabbits in front of lions. And of course a rabbit and a lion would bring completely different emotions in people.
It was noisy in the Wild Wolf Square as students had already gathered to discuss about what was happening. Although many people could see the huge airships, they hadn't yet figured out what was happening right now.
Before coming to the Wild Wolf Valley, they were taught military education for many years at school, so although they were afraid, they still remained disciplined.
Additionally, the flying blue-green flag on the top of the castle also relieved their tension. So even though the sudden appearance of the Norman Empire's army was terrifying, they all kept calm, knowing that they wouldn't be attacked. So what worried them right now were not themselves but their family members in Blackhot City.
The moment Zhang Tie came to the Wild Wolf Castle, he was noticed by Leit who was waiting on the path leading to the valley from the square.
"Bighead..." Leit rushed toward him through the noisy crowd. Hugging him, he said, "Nice to see you back, we were worried that you might not be back in time!" Saying this, Leit looked around carefully and drew slightly closer to Zhang Tie. With his voice lowered, he said, "Glaze also started a loner's survival training several days ago. Learning about it, everybody started to worry for you..."
Leit's concerned expression and his excitement at the sight of him made Zhang Tie warm inside. Facing Leit's concern, he patted his shoulder.
"Trust me, I'm okay. How about you guys?"
"Fine, Pandora, Alice, and Beverly are fine too. Oh, have you met Glaze?"
"Glaze? I've not seen him for a long time. He might have disappeared from this world!" Zhang Tie replied straightforwardly with a big smile.
Somehow, Leit could sense that Zhang Tie was obviously different from before, even though not that many days had passed. His friend's appearance hadn't changed, but his temperaments was quite different compared to earlier. He had become more confident, calm, and mysterious. Besides that, he presented a certain feeling of hidden sharpness to others.
'Could a loner's survival training really bring about such great changes to a person in a short time?'
Leit became suspicious.
There were many people in the square. Not only were the other members of the Brotherhood waiting for Zhang Tie, but even his mining brothers were paying attention to him.
Potter, Wood, Gandhi, Jones, Franca, and other mining brothers had gathered together and formed a small group. Seeing Zhang Tie, they all revealed smiles and were a bit moved. Compared to other groups in the square, the small group composed of the mining brothers became less chaotic. Many of them frankly sat on the ground with calm expressions.
Zhang Tie greeted Potter's group by nodding his head instead of going towards them.
They looked understanding: the Ancient Gods Church was still a huge secret.
"You know those guys?" Leit asked with a bit of curiosity after seeing Zhang Tie greet those guys.
"Yea, we're mining friends!"
"Oh, I thought you've joined the Gods' Bliss Association."
"Gods' Bliss Association? Gods' Bliss Association?"
Zhang Tie was confused.
"It's an association organized by those mad guys. They treat mining as cultivation. I heard they even implement a mysterious prayer before mining by kissing the icy mining bed. So the previous miners in the mine were scared off by them.
"A couple of days after you left, the Gods' Bliss Association had taken completely control of the mine. They're very united with a powerful fighting force and are really good at mining, just as if they were born-to-be miners. As long as one of them meets with some trouble, the others will rush to him in aid.
"One week ago, when a small association of more than twenty people was bullying one of their members, the other more than sixty members of Gods' Bliss Association all rushed forward regardless of their own lives.
"As a result, on the side of the Wild Wolf Square, they beat over ten guys so ferociously that those guys even knelt down in front of them to beg for forgiveness. After Glaze's Male Lion Association was disbanded, these guys of Gods' Bliss Association have become a popular emerging association in the Wild Wolf Castle."
Leit explained it to Zhang Tie as they walked, not even noticing that Zhang Tie's eyes had almost popped out while listening.
Zhang Tie had never imagined that after confounding them with his "Cave Barbarian Living Style", these guys would unite, bursting with creativity like having found the direction of their futures. Several bad luck miners had started to play the game of associations too. Additionally, Zhang Tie felt that Gods' Bliss Association was somewhat related to that Ancient Gods' Church which he had fabricated.
Barley and the other members of the Brotherhood were gathered in the square. Seeing Leit accompanying Zhang Tie back, their spirits rose, and they all heaved a deep sigh of relief.
"You wait here for me, I have an emergency to report to Captain Kerlin and the other teachers of the Temporary Supervision Committee!"
After greeting the other members of the Brotherhood, Zhang Tie intended to leave for Captain Kelrin.
"What's the matter? Bighead, why are you in such a hurry?" Barley asked.
After glancing over these guys who were still confused, Zhang Tie greeted and motioned for them to get closer. "I met the Iron-Horn Army of the Norman Empire in the Crescent Prairie!"
The others almost jumped up from the ground.
"The Iron-Horn Army divided into two at the border between the Crescent Prairie and the Wild Wolf Valley, avoiding going through. They chose a route that's more suitable for the great numbers of their troops to charge at Blackhot City. Their routes were almost horizontal to the Wild Wolf Valley with two ranges of the Wild Wolf Valley between them. They were at least 10 km away from each other."
Those who attended the survival training in the Wild Wolf Valley wouldn't know that. And even if some of them had felt something, they could never imagine how truly terrifying were the troops of the Norman Empire when they moved together.
"How many people?" Barley asked in a low voice.
"The troops that passed before me consisted of more than 100,000 people. The amount of cavalry on the iron-horn beasts would surpass 50,000. There were also large batches of armored troops. Before I came back, the other troops of the Norman Empire were still marching endlessly to this place from the Crescent Prairie. I have to report this situation to the Temporary Supervision Committee now..."
Hearing Zhang Tie's description, every member of the Brotherhood turned pale. Facing such a dire change in their situation, everybody became worried, and felt weak. What could a few youths do in front of such great power?
The moment Zhang Tie separated from the other members of the Brotherhood, he darted into the Wild Wolf Castle. Coincidentally, he almost hit Captain Kerlin and Zerom.
Seeing them, Zhang Tie hurriedly drew close and reported what he had seen about the Norman Empire's army. He was then surprised that both Zerom and Captain Kerlin showed no excessive surprise during his report. They only asked him for some extra details on a few parts.
"You've long known about it?"
"No, we didn't know it but assumed such. When we saw the war-time airships of the Norman Empire, we counted their numbers using a telescope and knew that the Iron-Horn Army had dispatched a great number of soldiers this time!"
Zerom forced a faint smile.
"Mr. Zerom, do you think that the Blackhot City will be in trouble? My elder brother is still serving in the City Guard!" Zhang Tie urgently asked Zerom about what he was concerned most. "Can I go back to have a look now?
"I'm afraid that Blackhot City has been besieged by the Iron-Horn Army of the Norman Empire. Do you think you could break through its blockade? The city gates of Blackhot City must be closed shut by now. Even if you could get close to the city's wall, do you think the City Guard would open the gates for you?" Zerom rebutted.
Thinking back to all those troops of the Norman Empire and the critical situation facing Blackhot City, Zhang Tie shook his head.
"Don't worry, I estimate that the war will hardly break out in Blackhot City. Your elder brother should be safe!"
Zerom's admiration of this youth in front of him rose as he watched him.
Zhang Tie had dared to attend the loner's survival training in the Crescent Prairie, which meant that he had a powerful fighting force. Then after discovering the Norman Empire's army, he immediately rushed back to report the critical situation to the teachers of the Temporary Supervision Committee, proving his loyalty to Blackhot City. Of course teachers would favor such an excellent student.
Hearing Zerom's words, Zhang Tie was reassured. He asked then, "Mr. Zerom, is the war coming?"
"It has already come. However, it will probably end very fast..." Zerom sighed. He then patted Zhang Tie's shoulder and told him solemnly, "In this war, the two parties' military force is very different. It's like a fight between a lion and a rabbit. Tell me, if Captain Kerlin took a knife to rob an elementary student of his candy bar, dare the elementary student not submit to him? What's more, that elementary student is an orphan which has no one to rely on..."
Zhang Tie peered at Captain Kerlin and noticed this one-eyed man's extreme dissatisfaction with the metaphor. Captain Kerlin then glared at Zerom. "Dare he not!"
"That's it! This is how war goes. The Norman Empire aims to rob, instead of to eliminate. But do you know what it means when a powerful guy like Captain Kerlin starts robbing kids of their candy bars or old men of their wine bottles that they had spent great effort to get, regardless of losing his face?"
"What does this mean?"
"It means the world is gonna turn chaotic..." Zerom let out a deep sigh as he shifted his eyes to stare in the distance. "This war is just an appetizer of the bloody and chaotic banquet that's begun in this world..."
Zhang Tie was stunned by the words. Chaotic world? This was his first time hearing such words so close together...