CoBI, B2 Chapter 2: The Orphanage
Granny Theresa’s Orphanage is located within the residential community district close to the western walls of Black Flame City, when standing outside the gates of the orphanage, a person can see the over 30 meters tall city walls and the military structures that are tightly attached to it for front line purposes.
The walls of Black Flame City are the source of confidence and safety of the people. Although there is a sense of intimidation when the walls are seen up closed and there is no beautiful scenery available but to the people of the city, none of them will feel that the walls are built too high.
The feeling of safety brought forth by these tall and big walls, are the reason why property prices within the city and outside of it have such a huge difference.
Zhang Tie looked at the towering walls, a wondering thought of whether his brother is currently on top of it performing his guard duties crossed his mind. Being a soldier of the City Defense Army, defending the walls is their first and foremost duty.
As Zhang Tie is not sure about the daily duties and routines within the Defense Army, therefore, he naturally does not know where his brother is currently at or is doing what sort of tasks, Zhang Tie is also not interested to find out.
This is because, officially, any information regarding the movements and details of the army is confidential. Although such a rule is not strongly enforced and the information can be obtained during normal conversations but sometimes, being overly curious will only bring trouble to yourself and your family. Therefore, as a commoner, Zhang Tie will just keep to himself and not ask too much questions.
The information about the Red Scarf Bandits mentioned by his brother yesterday on the other hand, is something that Zhang Tie took note of, thus he gave the walls a few more glances than usual, hoping to gather information of the latest situation.
Zhang Tie suspects he is overthinking as he felt the murderous aura emitting from the soldiers on the walls are slightly stronger than the other days he was here.
After retracting his sight, Zhang Tie saw Granny Theresa standing outside the door of the orphanage, the same as always, every Saturday during this time, Granny Theresa will be waiting for him at this spot.
As a devotee of the Greenpeace Religion, Granny Theresa is wearing a green color nun’s robe, the long robe has white lines on it forming the pattern of the olive branch that signifies the spirit of the Greenpeace Religion. With a slightly plump body, Granny Theresa gives off the feeling of an average neighborhood elderly, full of warmth and kindness.
Green and white are colors loved by all followers of the Greenpeace Religion and is also the color that represents their religion. From Zhang Tie’s perspective, the design aside he finds the color green and white goes well together and brings out a kind and joyful feeling.
When she saw Zhang Tie riding on the tricycle, a smile is formed on Granny Theresa’s face before she turned around to shouted, “kids, your favorite thing has arrived……”
As Zhang Tie parked the tricycle outside the door of the orphanage, five to six kids between the ages of eight and nine began working in pairs in an experienced manner, carrying the jars for him without him instructing.
“Ke… Ke… be careful, if you are unable to carry then let me do it!” Zhang Tie reminded the little fellas as he carried the big earthen jars from the tricycle and place them on the floor. The kids dashed into the orphanage as they carried the jars, their face full of smiles.
After some sounds of cheering coming out from inside the orphanage, more kids began to run out, as long as they got a bit of strength they will volunteer to carry the jars, while the younger ones will stand and observe at the side, staring with their eyes wide and breathing in hard with their little noses, their mouths began to drool as they saw the jars containing the rice soup.
To these kids who grew up in the orphanage, this rice soup that is white as snow, that is constantly emitting the fragrance of rice, is the most delicious thing in the world.
Looking at their reactions, Granny Theresa showed a kind smile at these kids that lost their parents at a young age.
Every week, during the cooking process of creating the rice wine, a lot of the rice soup will be created, this precious treasure is something that Zhang Tie and his brother also grew up drinking.
On occasions when some mothers in the neighborhood are unable to produce enough breast milk for their baby, they will approach Zhang Tie’s family for some rice soup to feed their child.
Rice soup is good stuff, it is highly nutritious and contains the essence of rice in it. However, it has a short shelf life and will usually spoil within two days. His mother often says that being wasteful is a sin, therefore, after keeping enough for the family to consume for two days, the remaining rice soup will be given away to others.
Although for some people, they will not be bothered about receiving that bit of rice soup but to the orphanage kids who often experience food shortage, this is the most delicious thing they can enjoy since they are born.
The rice soup donated by Zhang Tie’s family, can allow the kids to have meals for at least two days. Granny Theresa often said, this is the greatest gift that that the heavens have given to the kids.
In the past, the rice soup was delivered by Zhang Tie’s father, after that, it was delivered by Zhang Tie’s brother, and now, it is Zhang Tie’s turn. The number of years the rice wine shop is in business is the number of years Zhang Tie’s family have been sending the rice soup to the orphanage, becoming a sort of Zhang Family tradition.
After coordinating the little fellas on where to keep the jars, Sister Theresa approached Zhang Tie and gave him a light hug before placing a peck on his forehead and give him a blessing.
“Child, god will bless the kindhearted. People who can show kindness to others will receive the blessings of god eventually, their life will definitely have miracles……”
The sentence was spoken by Sister Theresa multiple times before. However, this time, when Zhang Tie heard it, a different feeling welled up inside of him, his heart began to lament.
“Thank you Granny, I also believe that God will bless the kind!”
Zhang Tie blushed slightly as he replied, Granny Theresa’s body is voluptuous and soft. Although he did not feel anything in the past when he was hugged but as he grew older and became aware of the things between genders, he began to feel less comfortable about the interactions.
Although he is not barbaric enough to have the wrong thoughts for someone that is old enough to be his granny but he cannot help but feel slightly embarrassed.
After the kids carried the six jars into the orphanage, in a short while they took out and returned the jars that have been washed and cleaned. Every jar can hold more than 5 kilos of rice soup, six of them will have about 30 to 35 kilos of rice soup, this amount is a “very generous” donation from the view of the orphanage.
“Oh right, Granny Theresa, when I went to the rice store today, I discovered many of the food prices have increased” Zhang Tie told Granny Theresa about the rising prices as they waited for the kids to load up the tricycle, this piece of news is not a good one for the orphanage though.
After enquiring more details from Zhang Tie, the face of Granny Theresa began to have traces of looking troubled, her eyes stared into the distance and after some time, released a long sigh.
Looking at the troubled face on Granny Theresa and the smiling kids at the side, Zhang Tie began to feel his brain getting hot. He dug into his pockets and took out the ten coppers that was given by his mother earlier today and placed them into Granny Theresa’s hands, “Granny, this is all I have on me, treat it as my donation to the kids, although it is not much but I hope it can help even if a bit”
This is the first time that Zhang Tie donated to the orphanage, he is already dirt poor so how could he have the money to do so in the first place. However, his interaction with the Castle of Black Iron over the two days have broaden his views, therefore in a moment of “graciousness”, he decided to give his money away. As the money left his hand, Zhang Tie began to feel a tinge of regret, thinking that 5 coppers should be enough, why did he give everything, he has become penniless now.
Even if he regretted, there is no point to it, therefore, Zhang Tie tried his best to show the face of a well-behaved child, showing his teeth as he smiled while feeling slightly embarrassed.
Granny Theresa got slightly shocked as she received the ten coppers, she gave Zhang Tie a deep look before caressing his head, “Child, your kindness will be rewarded.”
Hearing her words, Zhang Tie suddenly thought of something before replying, feeling slightly embarrassed, “Granny, I heard you have many different types of plant seeds over here, can you give me some. I have a classmate who just moved to a new place, his new house has a large courtyard, I would like to gift him the seeds as a present”
God, please forgive me, I have lied to your servant. Telling a lie to the kind Granny Theresa for the first time caused Zhang Tie’s heart to beat wildly while feeling bashful at the same time.
The word “reward” mentioned by Granny Theresa earlier gave Zhang Tie the idea to “receive” something from here.
Although Zhang Tie is looking flustered but to Granny Theresa, what she saw is the pureness of a “child” instead.
The Greenpeace Religion is also called the Guardian God Religion, the teaching of the religion is reflected on the two colors on their attire – Using green to protect the earth, while using white to eliminate slaughter.
The religion does not worship any gods or idols but rather worship the earth underneath their feet, this large land is given a name by the devotees of the religion: Gaia, the Mother of Earth. They believe every living thing that stands on Gaia are her children, the green that covers the earth is her present as well as her protector.
Zhang Tie is unsure how the Greenpeace Religion is received in other places but in Black Flame City and within the Andaman City State Alliance where it is filled with the flavor of business and where people worship gold coins as gods, the Guardian God religion is not well received by the people. By looking at the state of the orphanage and Granny Theresa, one will understand this point.
Within Black Flame City, the more popular religions will have grandeur churches or temples but the Guardian God religion only has this orphanage, they do not even have a decent prayer room.
In the eyes of the people, this religion other than teaching people to cherish plants, telling people to plant trees every spring and taking in orphans, does nothing else.
Every year during the second Sunday of the third month, is called the “Grace Showering Day” of Gaia, the Greenpeace religion will distribute various seeds to the people in Black Flame City on this day while seeking donations at the same time. This year’s “Grace Showering Day” has already passed for some time, Granny Theresa should have quite a bit of seeds stored.
When Zhang Tie thought of this fact and thought of that pitiful empty space in the Castle with only some corn and potato plants, he thought that he could ask for some seeds, no matter what plants, as long as they germinate and sprout, it will do. Planting them in the Castle will allow him to accumulate the much needed Spirit Energy.
Hearing Zhang Tie’s request, the smile on Granny Theresa got even wider than when he made his donation. After asking Zhang Tie, she handed him a bag after leaving for a few minutes. The bag felt heavy, about 250 grams but Zhang Tie did not open to check its contents. After giving his thanks, with excited feelings, he rode his tricycle and flew home.