It was a cold morning at the start of December. As things were starting to get busy for the Bennett Castle, the servants had to start cleaning the stables right after they woke up. The stablemen fed beans to the two chariot horses. The cleaners brushed all the swords, armors and boots inside the house. There was even a new rein for the Knight of Bennett’s steed.
While Abel and his servants came out with the luggage, six lancers were waiting for him in front of the castle gate. While not necessarily grand in any way, they were standing very neatly around a line of chariots. It was a small farewell parade designated for the young master’s leave.
These men were all wearing blue leather armor. They had boots as high as their knees and wore blue woolen hats on top of their heads. Apart from their three meter-long lances, everything they had on them was sown inside the Bennett Castle. While the wool might not be protective against arrows, they did make it easier to pull one out of a soldier’s wound.
There weren’t many decorations in the parade. Apart from the two soldiers hanging up the Thorned Shield flag on the tip of their lances, there wasn’t anything that stood out in particular. Since blue was the base color of the Bennett Family’s coat of arms, every fabric in this parade, costumes and curtains and so on, all had to have the same uniform tone.
Just while Abel was carrying the box onto his chariots, the Knight of Bennett rode his battle stead outside of the castle gate. Behind him was Abel’s mother, Nora, who had eyes full of tears asZach held her
The Knight of Bennett was looking especially solemn. Under the bright shine of the Sun, every plate of his silver-white armor was glowing in shivering light. He wasn’t wearing his helmet, for some reason. His helmet and weapons were all hanging on one side of his saddle. His long hair was tied up in a simple tail, which kept moving around as the cold wind went by.
Nora didn’t say anything to Abel. She just kept looking at Abel, almost as if she had already told him everything last night. It was like she was looking at the most precious treasure in the world.
One way or another, Zach always knew that Abel was going to leave the castle. It was a tradition that no one could go against, which was why he was always so loving towards his only brother. He didn’t expect Abel to leave so early, though.
“This is your home, Abel. Come back when you have the time to.”
Zach came to hug his little brother. Technically speaking, Abel was just as strong as him, but the grasp was so tight that it felt more overwhelming than intended. Abel was quite calm this whole day, but he felt like he was going to lose it at this moment.
The morning sun didn’t feel quite warm during winter. And, because of how loud the wind was howling, every flag in the parade was waving around like they were out of control. Abel didn’t sit inside the chariot cabin. Instead, he was riding on top of a three-year-old mare right in the middle of the parade.Because of how oversized his father’s cuir bouilli was, he was now wearing a leather armor covered in wool. He was carrying a light sword on his back. So light, in fact, that it felt almost useless for a rank four novice knight.
Abel turned around for a final look at his mother and brother. He couldn’t do it for too long, however. The moment he turned his head around, he felt like tears were immediately welling up his eyes.
Since the headquarter couldn’t be unguarded, not a lot of people joined the farewell parade. Apart from Abel and the Knight of Bennett, there were about 9 people in total who left the Bennett castle. As the second-best fighter in the Bennet Knight’s domain, Norman was left with the task of being the Bennett Castle’s temporary headmaster.
Knights were the lowest amongst royalty. That being said, not just anyone could be qualified to serve them. Loyalty, reliability, competence in combat, and being of noble birth were all crucial features to being qualified as a knight’s underlings.
Take Norman, for example. He had been a brother of the Knight of Bennett ever since the war. He was only granted the status of a knight after he had his loyalty confirmed, and was taught the Bennett Family’s secret techniques at a much later time. It was a rewarding journey for him, to say least the least. For the years of his devotion, he was promoted from a regular guard to being the honored underling of a noble knight.
Many wandering knights were desperate for a master with his own territory. Once accepted, the head knight would be responsible for all their day-to-day expenses. This included weapons, armors, and even the housing of the underlings. With this much at stake, one had to be extra careful in choosing his most trusted underlings.
The parade went on for a total of six hours. Apart from the half-hour break during lunchtime, the men didn’t stop their feet at one single time. Thankfully, no one was bold enough to be a disturbance. Even the beasts could tell how dangerous the Knight of Bennett was.
This was the furthest Abel had been from home. He could vaguely recall the eleven years of the “real” Abel’s childhood, and it was truly his very first time to be this far away from home. Sadly, though, there wasn’t much scenery to lay his eyes on. Apart from some evergreen plants lying on the side of the road, everything just looked kind of gloomy and dull around here.
Thank the Spirit that it wasn’t snowing. As dusty as the soil road might be, it was a much more preferable choice than trekking on wet, mushy ground. From what Abel had heard from others, roads in the big cities were all paved in large, smooth stones. For some reason, it kept reminding him of the concrete roads he had remembered from planet Earth.
How nice would it be if there were concrete roads in this world? Abel was about to extend on his imagination, but he also remembered his oath to not make any inventions. Like the irrigation system he had built for the Bennett Castle, creativity without protection would only bring disaster to him and those around him.
As a grown man who had received modern education behind everybody’s back, Abel could think faster than the “real” Abel could. He was also smarter than the version of himself on Earth. Whether it was fighting, etiquette, or anything culturally-related, he could pretty much understand in a snap of a finger. It was almost as if he had received a “buff” when he arrived in this world.
After a while, the roads were going from soil to Portuguese pavements. The Knight of Bennett wasn’t surprised at it. If anything, he knew exactly why this was the case.
“This is what’ makes the Marshall Knight special,” the Knight of Bennett said to Abel as he pointed to the ground below, “He’s all about not losing face in front of others. If there was a mountain to mine around here, he would’ve used giant boulders to pave the roads here.”
While staring at his father’s shiny armour, the newly-sown decorations on his horses, and the brand new gears of the six accompanying lancers, Abel really felt like saying: “Father, if you are just a little bit richer, I’m sure that Marshal Knight would have nothing on you if it’s about losing faces.”