The rain finally stopped last night. As a result, the morning air in the valley was pretty good. Zhang Tie seemingly could even smell the fragrance of the roadside grass. However, the path in the valley became very muddy and slippery this morning as a result of the rain, thus one may easily slip if they didn't pay attention to the condition of the path. Zhang Tie had no choice but to slow down his walking speed towards the mine that was several kilometers away.
Soon after Zhang Tie left the tree base, he had already encountered two groups of students hunting for food, with each group consisting of more than ten people. When Zhang Tie passed them, those guys, at first, gave a look of amazement at his mining basket, but soon after, they cast a glare of contempt at Zhang Tie before raising their heads and striding away proudly...
In the past couple of days, Zhang Tie had already become immune to those contemptuous glares. Unknown when he had read it, Zhang Tie remembered a certain sentence—a man who couldn't stand being alone would never grow up. In his current situation, for Zhang Tie, the current situation allowed him to grow alone.
Growing along with Zhang Tie's heart was the Castle of Black Iron.
After the past couple days of hard work, Zhang Tie had already accumulated 2000 basic energy storage by throwing baskets full of stones and iron ores into the Pool of Chaos within the Castle of Black Iron. The amount of basic energy storage in the Castle of Black Iron was several hundred times more than that before the start of the survival training. After having been converted into basic energy storage, the stones and mined ores quickly increased the strength of the Castle of Black Iron. With the amount of basic energy storage presently available in the Castle of Black Iron, it could already be used to make some slight changes to the topography of the Castle of Black Iron, for example a small pool However, Zhang Tie was currently not satisfied with just that amount; he wanted to accumulate more basic energy storage and then make a final decision once the survival training was over.
In addition to the increasing basic energy storage, the aura value in the Castle of Black Iron has also been rapidly increasing. Zhang Tie had found that all the seeds gifted by Grandma Teresa had already sprouted and were growing well. In addition to the seeds from Grandma Teresa, the potatoes, niblets, sweet potatoes, and the pumpkins in his own land were all growing nicely as well.
Zhang Tie didn't know why, but in the past few days, he felt as if he was being followed on his way to the mines; however, this morning, the feeling of being followed was gone. This made Zhang Tie curious about whether he was going crazy again, but in the end, he didn't think too much about it.
After the first rain in June, the valley had been covered with dandelions overnight. White hairy spheres of dandelions had already broken out from the ground one by one, seemingly waiting for the arrival of a gust of wind. At the sight of the cute dandelions, Zhang Tie felt pretty good. Without hesitation, he casually picked ten of the white hairy spheres from the dandelions and tossed them into his mining basket.
Half an hour later, Zhang Tie arrived at the nearest mining cave, which was only a bit more than 200m away from Wild Wolf Castle. Many people had already been here to mine, and there was a small, rusty half-complete track, which was once used to transport carts, on the ground covered in weeds outside the mining cave, seemingly as if it was telling him that this place was once prosperous. This mining cave might have been very important in the past, but now it was just an abandoned place used by the unlucky students to do labor work in exchange for food.
As it was too close to Wild Wolf Castle, it was easily noticed by the female students. Not many male students chose this mining cave as their base, as they were afraid of losing face under the gazes from the female students, thus this mining cave was not as lively as the other ones.
Recently, there has been many new faces entering this mine to work, while many old faces would disappear. Zhang Tie guessed that there were more than ten people, including himself, who constantly came to this mine to work every day. Most likely because this job was not something to feel honor from and all the people who mined here were either introverted or didn't feel like talking, Zhang Tie had not even made a single bosom friend after working here for a while. However, this truly made Zhang Tie reassured; he could do whatever he wanted alone in the mining cave without having to worry about the others.
There were many broken stones on the ground outside the mines, making it easier to walk since there was less mud. The entrance to the mines was large, measuring up to dozens of square meters. After arranging his equipment at the entrance of the cave and cleaning off the mud on his shoes using a rock, Zhang Tie took out a torch and a hoe before lighting up the torch as he held it while entering the mine...
Although it was still daytime, after walking for a dozen meters in the cave and taking two turns, it was hard to see anything in front of him. If Zhang Tie didn't have a torch, he would not be able to venture deeper at all. Thankfully, the road ahead was flat without too many obstacles, thus Zhang Tie continued to venture deeper on the jet black path.
The illuminating torch and Zhang Tie's footsteps shocked several bats inside the cave, leading to the bats flapping their wings and making a loud noise. This would always frighten people entering the cave for the first time, and Zhang Tie was no exception. However, after having accessed the mine several times, Zhang Tie had become accustomed to it.
The illuminating torch cast Zhang Tie's shadow onto the mining walls. As he walked forward, his shadow on the walls also accompanied him. Each time Zhang Tie entered, he could not help but peek at the jumping shadows on the walls of the mine that were brought about by the shaking of the illuminating rays from the torch. Besides his shadow, there were also many strange marks that were circular and similar to tire marks on the yellowish walls and the ground of the mine. Zhang Tie was sure those marks were not left by humans. Every time he saw those marks, Zhang Tie would think back to the legend of the Gold-Eating Boas told by Sharwin that happened at this place three decades ago. Walking down the hole that stretched underground with walls covered in weird marks and had a diameter of three to four meters, whenever Zhang Tie thought about how the exaggeratedly terrifying boas that could engulf everything it met that used to climb in this tunnel, he would always feel terrified, feeling as if there were monsters in the pitch darkness staring at him. Although he knew it was just his imagination, Zhang Tie would always accelerate his footsteps whenever he passed by those strange tunnels.
Faintly hearing the sounds of hoes knocking at ores in front of him, Zhang Tie slightly calmed down. After walking several hundred meters in the cave, he finally arrived at the other end of this tunnel, revealing a spacious area in front of him. This area was even larger than the city square of Blackhot City and looked like a natural karst cave. Zhang Tie only saw a few dim lights in the entire underground space. , which came from the torches of the people who had arrived before him; however, in this pitch darkness, the burning torches were just like dim oil lamps and could only brighten a small area. The sounds of knocking at ores constantly reverberated in this space. The sounds that reverberated inside this huge mine seemed to spread both far away and close. For people who had walked through the meandering tunnel, they would definitely let out a sigh of relief and would feel happy at the sight of the lights in the pitch darkness and upon hearing the reverberating knocking sounds—well, at least that held true for Zhang Tie...
As usual, Zhang Tie chose a place that was more isolated and subtle to do his mining work; the place he chose to work in was in another tunnel that was artificially made in the underground space. Even if he were to light his torch, he would not be easily noticed by others within that tunnel. In addition, there were several other intersections and turns inside this tunnel that seemingly led deeper underground. Therefore, that was a pretty ideal place for Zhang Tie to do whatever he wanted.
Arriving at where he usually worked, he set up a small trick at the entrance of the tunnel using several broken stones. This small trick would alert him if anyone entered the tunnel. After placing the stones at the entrance, Zhang Tie was able to completely relax.
Fixing the torch into a crack on the wall of the mine, dozens of square meters of space before him were illuminated. He placed his mining basket on the ground and poured out the spare torches and dandelions from within. He then removed the dagger, the kettle, and the dried ration from his waist. After drinking some water, he took up his hoe and began to work hard to gather the required amount of ores, joining the other sounds of knocking and forming a chorus in the underground karst cave!
Unknownst to Zhang Tie, who was mining in the cave underground, a messenger falcon had brought the latest news from Blackhot City to Wild Wolf Castle. The news it brought was a big event that had happened in Blackhot City yesterday, and that big event was rightly related to the letter Zhang Tie had sent. After a week of brewing, the storm in Blackhot City shook the entire Andaman Alliance, while the storm from yesterday seemed to symbolize the arrival of a greater storm...