The exterior wall of the entire apartment was made of dark red bricks and gray stones, which looked pretty cool and clean. In the balcony of each floor, there was a flaxen windowsill. On the rails of the windowsills, many potted plants were placed. The gate of the apartment building was facing Avenue Monet. Walking out of the gate, you needed to go down over ten stairs before reaching the sidewalk. On both sides of the stairs, one could see a part of the first floor apartment close to the avenue. Besides, there were two parterres filled with red maples and Chinese roses.
The pitch-black wrought iron gate of the apartment looked pretty firm and delicate. The brass handle was very clean. Generally, everything in this apartment building matched a man of good standing who had received a good education and had a nice income in Blackhot City: clean, fresh, graceful, the surrounding environment was neither dirty and chaotic nor brilliant.
In Zhang Tie's mind, the traders that went about soliciting business deals in bulk commodity exchanges, doctors that carried out circumcision operations for him, teachers like Zerom and Captain Kerlin at school, the graceful businessmen who had small business in Blackhot City and that notary he met today should live in such an apartment.
There were numerous apartment buildings like this one in Blackhot City, tall or low. They were mostly favored by renters. That bastard Hista dreamed of having such an apartment one day so that he could collect rents every month. With the money, he could then indulge with women everyday.
Seeing Zhang Tie dumbfounded, Donder added, "What? You're scared to be seen an idiot with only such a small apartment building?"
Zhang Tie stared at Donder with disbelief. "Are you kidding me? Have you eaten something wrong or what? I knew that you were not right when I caught sight of you today. I'll check if you've caught a fever or something..."
Saying this, Zhang Tie pretended to touch Donder's forehead, only to get a 'Pa' sound from Donder who slapped his hand away.
Donder then cast a ferocious glare at him. "Bastard, as I've said, you're really rustic. This apartment only cost me several thousand gold coins when I bought it several years ago. It's cheaper now. Someone would spend it by a few meals. It's nothing at all. You really think it's something that big?"
When Donder mocked Zhang Tie, he walked up the stairs of the apartment building with a sound of 'dong dong dong'. After taking out a key, he inserted it into the lock and rotated it two circles before opening that gate.
"Come on in, I need you for something!"
Scratching his head, Zhang Tie followed Donder in.
Behind the gate was a thick door mat. The apartment was paved with a clean gray wooden floor. Entering it, Zhang Tie raised his head up and caught sight of a beautiful layer of triangular glass ceiling, from where sufficient sunlight could reach inside the room. The spiral stairs inside could directly lead to the roof. From the second floor upwards, each floor would contain two apartments, face to face with each other with an aisle between them.
Donder didn't go upstairs, instead, he passed by some tall green plants on the left of the stairs before opening a door of a residence.
The moment Zhang Tie entered, Donder locked the door from inside.
This was a residence on floor 1. Its furniture: sofa and various other things inside the room were well prepared. All the furniture gave a fresh wooden fragrance.
Before Zhang Tie could enjoy them carefully for a bit longer, Donder had already led him into a tranquil study after passing by an aisle. The moment Donder pressed a hidden switch, a bookcase had slid way, revealing a door behind it. After opening this door, Zhang Tie saw stone stairs stretching down towards a basement.
On the walls of the staircase hung expensive ten thousands-year fluorite lamps which rendered the entire basement pale green.
"After entering here, remember to close the door of the basement. After doing so from inside, the bookcase outside will automatically slid back to its original place and all the safety settings will be triggered on. Even if someone wants to break it from outside using force, it would cost them a long time..." Donder explained, turning back his head while walking first.
After closing the door, Zhang Tie heard a heavy and dreary sound made by the door of this basement, like a safe being closed. He had not imagined that the thick room door was made of steel, its surface only brushed with a layer of wood paint.
The basement was very large, covering more than 100 square meters. It had a look of a temporary asylum. There was a table, several lockers, big and small, and some other items. What was out of Zhang Tie's expectation was that there were no less than four wardrobes of different sizes here, and a huge mirror. What did Donder prepare so many clothes here for? To enjoy them in front of the mirror by himself?
Donder walked towards a chair and told Zhang Tie to sit down as well.
At this moment, Zhang Tie was completely filled with curiosity. Everything that the mean boss of the grocery store did today was filled with a sense of mystery.
"I know you must have a lot of questions now!" Donder said, staring at Zhang Tie.
With a sense of depression, Zhang Tie scratched his head. "What are you doing this for today? I feel like you've become stranger!"
"Because I have to leave the Blackhot City soon. I have to deal with the things here!"
"You want to go?" Shocked, Zhang Tie stared at Donder. "Why?"
"Because of you!" Donder looked at Zhang Tie with a smile. "Previously, I didn't know when I could leave Blackhot City. But because of you, I will do so soon. Do you know that I've not been back home for three decades? Previously, I thought that I could only have a chance to go back home when I was old enough. But because of you, I can do so several decades in advance. So I have to thank you!"
"Because of me?"
Zhang Tie became even more surprised.
"Can you not widely open your eyes and point at your own nose? This looks is too rustic!" Donder smiled. "Do you remember that
"Hmm, this book can improve one's spiritual energy. It should be very precious!"
"It's not just precious!" Donder shook his head. "Do you remember that story about an ugly stone that I've told you before. That
Zhang Tie could still clearly remember the story about an ugly stone. It was one of the stories that Donder had told him. Once upon a time, an ugly stone was found by a stonemason in a mountain village. Because that stone was very hard, the stonemason then used it as a stone anvil. He found it was very useful and kept using it for dozens of years.
One day, a greater blacksmith came to the village and found that stone too. He felt that the stone might be an iron ore. Therefore, he cut off a small piece of it and took it back. When he returned home, he made it into a horseshoe and sold it for dozens of copper coins. The blacksmith was very satisfied about it.
After the blacksmith left, another, even greater master swordsmith felt that the stone might be an aerosiderite. Therefore, he also cut off a piece of it and took it back home. He then built it into a precious sharp sword and sold it for several hundreds of gold coins.
Later, an even greater master clockmaker found that aerosiderite and cut off a piece of it. He used the metal inside it to create several pocket watches in the series of aerosiderite. He finally sold them for thousands of gold coins.
After the arrival of the master clockmaker, a carving master found that piece of stone and directly took away the remainder of it. After a delicate carving, he got tens of thousands of gold coins from it.
Finally, the value of the stone was identified by an emperor. After smelting the stone again, the emperor extracted the metal from inside the stone and made it into the seal of the empire, which was worth hundreds of millions of gold coins...
This story told that the same thing would have different value in different people's eyes.
Zhang Tie understood it, but he also became confused at the same time.
"Like how human exercise their muscles, one's spiritual energy is mainly carried out through visualization. The things being visualized to exercise one's spiritual energy are top secret knowledge. Additionally, all the visualizations are a deep conscious activity which demands ardor and need extremely high spiritual stability and sustainability, which pose a very high requirement for one's willingness and endurance.
"Previously, I've never seen anybody who could exercise spiritual energy before twelve years old. Neither have I heard of any method of cultivation that could improve kids and youths' spiritual energy. Although 'Mental Arithmetic by Abacus' looks simple, it can help a person start exercising spiritual energy from six years old, or even from five.
"Besides, its threshold is very low, making it available for almost everybody. Although the effects of the 'Mental Arithmetic by Abacus' is weak, through visualizations and improvement of one's spiritual energy, people could lay a solid foundation for the further exercise requiring superior spiritual energy. This is the true value of 'Mental Arithmetic by Abacus', a method that could be learned even at a very young age to improve one's spiritual energy. Additionally, it's a beginner's textbook for improving one's spiritual energy. Do you understand it's value now?"
"Hmm... it really seems a bit useful to improve one's spiritual energy since young!"
Zhang Tie smirked.
"A bit useful?" Donder gaped at Zhang Tie, his voice high.
Infuriated as if having been insulted, he jumped up from the chair and fiercely flicked Zhang Tie's forehead with a finger.
"Bad *ss, are you an idiot or what? For idiots like you, it's a bit useful. However, have you ever imagined its effect if 10 million people, 100 million people, 0.1 billion people, or several billions of people, even tens of billions of Chinese people could learn it?
"It could help many people who could not improve their spiritual energy any more to easily exercise it so that they could easily improve themselves and break through the bottlenecks in their cultivation. It could enable many Chinese youths to lay a solid foundation for a good spiritual energy, which could help them a lot in their future development.
"Do you know how many genius' and powerful men would be seen among Chinese in the future, you idiot!"
Donder flicked Zhang Tie's forehead once again before sitting down, heavily panting.