According to Heller's suggestion, after promoting to LV 10, he'd better eat all the iron-body fruits so as to raise his strike-resistant ability to a new height.
Previously, it took him at least 7 days of strike in Crystal Battle Fortress for an iron-body fruit. However, after falling in the hand of Senel Clan, it only took him a few days to form 5 iron-body fruits. Given this fast speed, it could be imagined how cruel torture had he experienced.
Take Zhang Tie's leg as an instance. The leg was fully broken one part after another using instrument of torture. This sharp pain was as unbearable as in the hell. Besides the stripe on his scalded skin all over his body, there were other kinds of cruel tortures, each of which could collapse commoners.
With those cruel tortures, even a piece of iron would be smelt; however, Zhang Tie survived.
Of course, he obtained the fruits after experiencing the hell-like pains. Zhang Tie felt that he should appreciate the small tree. The small tree brought him the last beacon of hope in all pains. Because of the small tree, he escaped out of that cell.
Zhang Tie took 2 days to digest the 5 iron-body fruits.
Just like qualitative changes that happened when he lit sufficient invisible surging points, after digesting 5 more iron-body fruits, Zhang Tie felt his strike-resistant ability had met a qualitative change.
In Zhang Tie's words, he finally understood the term 'Iron man'. The term 'Iron man' could be well defined by the following data through the test made by Heller for him after he digested 5 iron-body fruits.
Heller said Zhang Tie finally reached a small achievement after eating so many iron-body fruits these years. Over 95% of Zhang Tie's body parts had been immune to pure barbarous force and strike from blunt objects below 900 kg, except for his eyes, nose, ears and inguen. That was to say, any force below 900 kg would cause no harm to Zhang Tie any longer.
Eyes, nose, ears and inguen which were very fragile for commoners, Zhang Tie could still bear over 10 times more pure barbarous force and strike from blunt objects.
Besides being fully immune to blunt objects and barbarous force below 900 kg, his body could also bear more physical harms caused by other blunt objects, high temperature or flames or battle qi strike.
Heller told Zhang Tie about his strike-resistant ability to those harms vividly.
"Simply, if you are naked now, you would not be scalded by 100 degree Celsius anymore. If an average 6-year old kid stabs you with a common blade or sword, he would not make you bleed. Your toxins-resistant ability has increased by 4%; your spiritual-strike-resistant ability has increased 5%; all the battle qi strikes on you would be weakened by 3%-12% or so."
"Battle qi strikes' effects on you would be specifically determined by the battle qi's level and features. If a person who cultivates iron-blood battle qi attacks you, you could only be immune to 4% of its total effect. If the battle qi is fury-wave battle qi, robust ox battle qi, fiery-flame battle qi or crescent battle qi, you could be immune to above 9% of its full effect.
"There's one point you need to know, iron-body fruit brings you the natural physical ability, which could not be brought by any secret knowledge and fighting skills. If you could learn some defensive secret knowledge and fighting skills in the future, you could have a defensive effect bonus on the basis of those fighting skills and secret knowledge."
Zhang Tie knew that although his harm-resistant ability could not match that pervert ability to walk out of the magma safe and sound like Zhao Yuan, his master, it was at least top-class in the same level. Therefore, Zhang Tie felt being immortal and proud in front of many low-level fighters.
Through Heller's words, Zhang Tie immediately understood many things. He realized why Heller always persuaded him to not belittle the effects of iron-body fruits.
Iron-body fruits could improve his physical qualities and defensive ability in all aspects for sure, including harm-resistance and defense against stunt and sharp objects, physical harm-resistance and defense against flames and high temperature, strike-resistance and defense against spiritual force, toxins and battle qi.
The body was the basis of everything. Only with a powerful body could one survive in the chaotic world. A strong and firm body could grant people with great and firm confidence and belief and enable them to face dilemma and challenges more calmly.
"Castle Lord, If you had not fallen asleep for 3 years because of Abyan, you should have reached this effect when you were promoted to LV 9. If you had such a strong body at LV 9, you would have fewer dangers when facing those difficulties and enemies!" Heller told Zhang Tie with full moods.
Zhang Tie nodded forcefully. He has indeed missed a lot during the 3 years. Thankfully, he still had a chance to mend it up. At least, the leakless fruits were kept hanging over the small tree. He could catch up with the schedule.
On the 3rd day since he digested those iron-body fruits, Zhang Tie continued to sit under the small tree and eat leakless fruits.
The world after LV 10 was different from that of before LV 10 in many aspects. To be a LV 6 fighter was a key watershed on the road of cultivation while becoming a LV 10 strong fighter was another watershed. The scenery before and after the two watersheds was entirely different.
Before LV 6, cultivators could neither use battle qi nor gather magical beasts' soul flames to produce battle-qi totem.
Before LV 10, cultivators could not launch the long-distance battle-qi strike. From LV 6 to LV 9, battle-qi totem on each level was fixed. Without integrating with the same level of soul flame, cultivators could not make further cultivation and advancement.
After LV 10, everything changed greatly. Cultivators could launch the long-distance battle-qi strike. Soul flames' influence on cultivators had two major changes.
First, magical beasts' soul flames which could be integrated by LV 10 strong fighters started to become rare. They could not be easily owned by people; instead, they became a rarity for cultivators.
Second, cultivators didn't have to integrate with soul flames so as to promote.
The first change could be understood easily. Because magical beasts above LV 10 could be rarely obtained, of course, their soul flames became rare. Only a few of magical beasts above LV 10 were above the ground. Most of the magical beasts above this level would hide in the deeper underground world or adventurous, unpopulated places. Without great efforts and a high price, commoners could barely see magical beasts above LV 10, not to mention their soul flames.
As to the second change, when a person reached LV 10, his physical potential treasure would be further tapped. As the most spiritual living being, after promoting to LV 10, people could be self-sufficient and didn't need soul flames to promote themselves anymore. Of course, it didn't mean that soul flames became useless after LV 10; conversely, after LV 10, soul flames became more effective and more precious to cultivators compared to that before LV 10. Because soul flames could stimulate one's battle qi to mutate and add some extra attributes or certain great abilities to the cultivator. This effect was enough to drive people mad.
Because of the above two reasons, the battle-qi totem and abilities of powerhouses started to change greatly after LV 10. Many people could not integrate with soul flames after LV 10; therefore, their battle-qi totems became popular 'Whiteboard Totems'.
There were no powerful magical beasts in the 'Whiteboard Totems'; instead, there were only bright points that represented the surging points that had been lit in one's body. Because of those bright points, 'Whiteboard Totem' was also called 'Starry Totem'.
By contrast, those powerhouses after LV 10 who had integrated with soul flames would have both starry points and a powerful magical beast image. Besides being more magnificent, the combination of magical beast's image and the starry totem also represented the cultivator's greater fighting strength. Accordingly, the battle qi's power and feature would be greatly different than that which had not integrated with soul flames.
Before LV 10, each level from LV 6-LV 9 could integrate with soul flame once. Besides, the level of the soul flame should be consistent with the level of the cultivator. Whereas, after LV 10, before one became a knight, each person only had one chance to integrate with soul flame, which didn't have to be consistent with the level of soul flame. If a LV 10 strong fighter was able and talented, he or she could integrate with the soul flame of a powerful LV 16 magical beast so as to change his battle qi's power greatly.
At this moment, Zhang Tie's battle-qi totem was a 'Whiteboard Totem'. In his battle-qi totem, there were 55 bright points in the rolling iron-blood banner, which represented the number of surging points that he had lit in his body after promoting to a strong fighter.
At this moment, Zhang Tie didn't have any super powerful magical beast's soul flame to integrate with. Neither was he worried about that. It was a major event for each cultivator to integrate with a magical beast's soul flame after LV 10. They had to treat it meticulously. Besides fortune and ability, cultivators needed to consider a lot of aspects. Without proper soul's flame, cultivators would maintain their 'Whiteboard Totem' even at LV 16.
Zhang Tie continued his cultivation.
As an incomplete version of 'King Roc Sutra', 'Robust Ox Sutra' could only allow the cultivators to be the 3-star fighter at most. Zhang Tie needed to light 34 invisible surging points from LV 10 to LV 11, which was as difficult as lighting the number of surging points from LV 1 to LV 9. Zhang Tie only needed to light another 13 surging points orderly so as to promote to a 3-star strong fighter.
Only after 7 days, when Zhang Tie lit another 13 invisible surging points, the "Robust Ox Skill" didn't work for him anymore.
That was the toughest cultivation moment...
On the afternoon of December 9th, after lighting the last surging point on "Robust Ox Skill" and producing another ball of golden flame from the stick of spiritual feather in the Shrine, Zhang Tie left the small tree. After that, he ate some food, took a rest, then walked; then he stood on the top of the mountain and watched those people living in the town. Until Zhang Tie felt that his body had recovered to the optimal state physically and spiritually did he return to the small tree and sat down.
Knowing that the later cultivation process would be extremely tough and frustrating, Heller warned Zhang Tie, "Castle Lord, you'd better choose a trouble-reappearance situation which consumes the least spiritual energy. In this way, you could make attempts by constantly activating the trouble-reappearance situation with your spiritual energy. According to my most optimistic estimation, if you want to find the next accurate invisible surging point to light, you need to die at least 450 times in the trouble-reappearance situation."
After saying that, Zhang Tie closed his eyes. After activating a trouble-reappearance situation, he entered it in a split second.
Sea waves, refreshing wind, sand beach and sunshine, Zhang Tie watched the place where he collected blue sea iron ores in the west of the Hidden Dragon Island and revealed a smile.
Standing on the beach, he saw a small sea snake in the sea, which was twisting its body and waiting to give Zhang Tie a fierce bite.
Zhang Tie didn't care about that small sea snake; instead, he found a higher clean rock on the beach and sat on it with legs crossed. He started to visualize his Shrine surging point. The ball of golden flame which could light the next invisible surging point was still in the Shrine surging point. However, there were 919 invisible surging points to be lit in his body.
"Which one first?" Zhang Tie glanced over all of them before revealing a bitter smile, "Whatever, no matter what I choose, the accuracy is less than 1/900. No need to hesitate at all."
Thinking in this way, Zhang Tie allowed that ball of golden flame to fly into an invisible surging point on the top of his head. He prepared to try from the top for the sake of memory...
The ball of golden flame integrated with the highest surging point. In the next second, he heard the sound of breaking glass. After opening his eyes, he found he had exited the trouble-reappearance situation and returned to the small tree.
Zhang Tie became a bit surprised, "Ah? What's wrong? It's so fast..."
"You failed the first time, my lord. You've been destroyed and died one time in the trouble-reappearance situation. Therefore, you exited there!" Heller replied calmly.
"I've been destroyed so fast? But I didn't feel any pain at all."
"It needs human neurons some time to feel pain. The feeling of pain is transmitted to a certain region in the human brain in the form of electronic signal. When the speed of self-destruction is faster than the transmission speed of that electronic signal, everything would come to an end before you feel any pain! Castle Lord, do you want to see what was happening at that time?"
Heller waved his hand as a holographic scene appeared in front of Zhang Tie. After standing on a beech for a short while, Zhang Tie sat on a clean piece of rock. After a few seconds, with a sound of 'bang', his body exploded into bloody mist at once, leaving nothing at all.
At the sight of the scene, Zhang Tie felt chilly all over as he quivered once, "This...this is the outcome of lighting the wrong surging point? If I did this in the reality, will I have the same outcome?"
"Yes, once you've made a mistake in cultivation, you wouldn't even have time to feel the pain of being destroyed by the emperor-level secret knowledge. After selecting the wrong target, it means that you've pressed down a switch of a bomb. As a result, the 987 surging points would explode in a split second like 987 mini alchemist bombs. They would leave any time for you to make any physical response and feel any pain! The benefit of this is that you won't have any experience in wounds or pain physically or spiritually in the trouble-reappearance situation. As long as you have sufficient spiritual energy, you can constantly try it..." Heller explained solemnly.
After being silent for a short while, Zhang Tie revealed a smile, "It's indeed tough to recover the complete emperor-level secret knowledge. However, now that I choose it, I will continue!"
After saying these words, Zhang Tie sat down with crossed legs once again. He closed his eyes and activated the same trouble-reappearance situation once again.
After a few seconds, Zhang Tie opened his eyes once again. He failed again...
13 hours later, after being exploded 796 times, he finally lit the accurate invisible surging point on a muscle of his calf below his knee. This time, he didn't explode. Instead, the new lit surging point became consistent with other lit surging points, bringing a wholly new energy to Zhang Tie...
Zhang Tie revealed a smile after opening his eyes.
Half an hour later, that surging point was lit in the real world...
"It's an improvement in the human history since the Catastrophe. Another emperor-level secret knowledge starts to recover its original brilliance." Heller, who was standing on Zhang Tie's side, concluded in a solemn look.
Zhang Tie smiled. He directly left the small tree silently, after eating supper he went to bed. After getting up on the next day, he came to the foot of the small tree once again. After picking 2 leakless fruits and eating them, he took a short rest before entering the same trouble-reappearance situation.
After being exploded 487 times, Zhang Tie found a new surging point, the 15th surging point from LV 10 to LV 11...
This time, Zhang Tie sat under the small tree for about 3 months...