The Harry Knight’s domain was 300 miles west of the Bennet Knight’s domain. In between them was another domain of an honorary lord. If there wasn’t a need to go around this region, there was no way that Abel’s trip would’ve taken as long as six hours.
Despite being a royal who was granted his own land, the Knight of Bennett was in the “middle-high” class, which was still a bit far from being an aristocrat. Besides, he wasn’t quite good at socializing with the other nobles. He tried his best to keep a polite distance from the other upperclassmen. This made it quite difficult for him to request his own army to make a direct pass into another domain.
The parade made its way to the Harry Knight’s domain at around three in the afternoon. From over a distance, Abel could see a very big castle in front. On either side of this castle, red banners were depicting a rearing unicorn. Needless to say, they were the family symbol of the Knight of Marshall.
From what Abel could see, his father clearly wasn’t pleased to see this. The Bennett Castle had its own banner, but that was only three meters tall and two meters wide. It was something that the Knight of Bennett had inherited from his own father. While it was unfinished back then, he had to spend quite a bit of money to add the final touches to it. “It’s a treasure for the next generation,” he would always say.
“He’s doing this on purpose,” the Knight of Bennett ground his teeth, “I’ve told him about the banners.” Abel saw this, of course, and decided to slow down his horse for a bit. As upset as his father was, he didn’t want to bring himself too close to any sort of trouble.
At the front gate of the Harry Castle, a middle-aged man was wearing a full set of golden armor. He was accompanied by two of his bodyguards who, for the sake of rubbing it in just a bit more, were also fully equipped with some very fine leather gears.
The Knight of Marshall had a carving of the god of sun on his left chest and the crest of the white unicorn on his right. For someone of his age, he was much sturdier than most would expect. He was very tall, too. There were quite some wrinkles on his face, but instead of making him look old, it somehow gave off this mature and refreshing aura about him.
With a growl of a bloodthirsty tiger, the Knight of Bennett jumped down his horse and quickly walked towards the Knight of Marshall. The ground below him trembled every time he had taken another step.
“Seth!” The Knight of Marshall responded with a roar that was just as loud and angry. With his golden hair flying in the air, he approached the Knight of Bennett with the menace of a fully-maned lion.
No one knew how to react to this. The two were meant to be best friends, but they looked like they were about to beateach other up?
The two just kept on walking towards each other. They were so close to each other that their fists were perfectly in range for a knockdown punch. They didn’t stop at that point, either. Instead, when their chests were an inch apart, the two jumped at the same time and collided themselves right into each other. No fist. No kicks, either. Just two men pushing against each other with their armored chest. If Abel were to describe it, the noise that followed was almost to that of a car crash at full speed.
What a strange but impressive exchange of raw strength. Both the Knight of Bennett and the Knight of Marshall had to take several steps back.
The Knight of Bennett cursed as he steadied his two legs. “You became an Intermediate Knight? Why the hell didn’t you mention that in the letter?”
“Well, the same could be said for you!” The Knight of Marshall replied as he caressed the bruise on his golden armor, “You didn’t say you’ve become an intermediate knight!”
The Knight of Bennett, too, felt the urge to look at the dent on his own breastplate. After figuring out the cost that was needed for repair, he gave another shout towards the Knight of Marshall.
“You play dirty, don’t you? Yeah, I did become one! If I didn’t, I would be on the ground right now!”
“Dirty? Look who’s talking?” The Knight of Marshall threw a dirty look and at the Knight of Bennett. The Knight of the Bennett did the same, and the two just kept on staring at each other in silence. Just when everyone thought that there was going to be a fight, the two suddenly slapped each other’s armor with their fist.
Then they started laughing and hugging each other. Apparently, none of that etiquette nonsense was important at this moment. The two brothers were glad to see each other, and that was all that mattered. As someone who held a secret so great he couldn’t tell anyone about it, Abel could only hope to have a friendship this close.
The adoption ceremony was very formal. They even invited a priest from the Temple of the goddess of harvest. As the ceremony was being held, Abel received a suit directly from the Knight of Marshall. The suit was marked with the symbol of the unicorn coat of arm, which signified that Abel had been officially accepted into the family. The welcome banquet commenced after the adoption ceremony ended.
If a Lord had no heir under his name, his property would be claimed by the Duchy once he had passed away. Such a change would be devastating for everyone who depended on their livelihood under the family’s name. That being said, while it was rather tragic for Abel to leave his original home, it was also something truly worthy of celebration for the ones who took him in.
The Knight of Bennett didn’t participate in the welcome banquet. He wasn’t interested in celebrating his son leaving. After the adoption ceremony was over, he hastily went home with his men. Out of understanding for what the Knight of Bennett was feeling, the Knight of Marshall spent no effort in trying to make him stay.
After the day was over, the Knight of Marshall took Abel to a two-story-tall building on the left side of the Harry Castle.
“This will be your room from now on,” the Knight of Marshall opened the door and welcomed Abel in, “I hope you feel at home here.”
There was a lot of space on the first floor. The floor was made of some very hard rocks. At the edge were a table and some chairs for the guests, but that was about the only regular furniture here. The wall was stacked with a rack full of weapons. There were heavy swords, shields, bows, and lances. There was even a heavy ax that was only supposed to be wielded by the orcs.
To be honest, this place felt more like a mini-training room than a living room. As the base for a novice knight like Abel, pretty much all his daily needs could be fulfilled here. Credits could be given to the Knight of Marshall. He had put in his thoughts when he decorated this whole building.
The bedroom was up on the second floor. There was a very big, feathery bed that was almost too clean. Whether it was the oakwood wall or the wool carpet on the floor, everything had a glorious tone of white to it. As if this wasn’t grandiose enough, the window was stretched from floor to ceiling. If you look outside, the view was much prettier than what you’d expect from regular homes.
The Knight of Marshall liked the color white. It must have something to do with the unicorn on his family’s coat of arm. Even the big closet in Abel’s room was made of white oak timber.
“Don’t you worry about what to wear here,” the Knight of Marshall opened up the closet, which had all kinds of new clothes inside, “These are all yours. It’s going to be a while before your welcome party. Get some shower now. After you’ve got yourself some good rest, a maid will come to help you change into your formal attire.”
The Knight of Marshall was a kind man. When he smiled at Abel, there was a certain warmth that felt both genuine and comforting.
“Is there anything else that you want?” he asked once more before he went downstairs, “Don’t hold back. This is your home from now own.”
“No, sir. This is already more than what I could ask,” Abel said in a slightly anxious tone. As much as he appreciated the generosity of everyone in this castle, it was hard to get used to being this cared for by so many people at once.
While alone in his new bedroom, Abel took a look outside the floor-to-ceiling window for some night-time scenery. There were multiple dots of light flashing over the distance, most of which belonged to the guests who came over to the welcome banquet. All in all, the Harry Castle was very close to Harvest City, which had a scale far greater than a small town like Fort Lee.
This was Abel’s new home from now on. He had just begun to acknowledge his new family, but fate decided to bring him out of his home, and here was he was. A new family. A new life. Abel couldn’t help but shake his head and let out a deep sigh. Once he became old and strong enough, he swore that he would do anything he could to help out his parents and brother.
There were sounds of footsteps coming by the stairs. It was a maid, and she had just opened the bedroom door and came in. She was about twenty years old, and her face was round like a bun.
“Your bathwater is ready now,” She said humbly as if she didn’t want to bother Abel too much, “Do you want to wash now?”
With the maid leading his way, Abel came to a bathroom that was only meant for the Harry Castle’s masters. Strangely, everything was made of timber here, and that gave off this unique fragrance like what you would find in a sauna. The bathing tub was made of marbles, and there were dry flower petals sprinkled on top of the steaming hot water.
Just when the maid was about to go in with Abel, she was ordered to stay where she was at. Abel might not look like it, but he was raised to follow the customs of the modern age. Having a female wash his body was not something he would feel comfortable with.
Once he had washed, Abel had the maid help him get into his formal attire.