The blacksmith was not located inside the castle. It was right next to the iron mine, which took Abel and the Knight of Marshall twenty minutes to arrive by chariots.
Even from over a distance, Abel could hear the sound of iron ore being smashed by iron hammers. There was a pile of stone houses, all of which were made by some neatly-chiseled boulders. There were chimneys on top of each of them. Right now, four out of six had dark smoke puffing out.
Just by looking at these stone houses, Abel could tell that the Knight of Marshall paid a lot of attention to his blacksmith business. The boulders they used were the same as the ones they used for castles. Forget about their actual cost, it would’ve already cost so much just to carry them all the way from the mountains.
The Knight of Marshall instructed Abel carefully, “We’re going to pay a visit to Master Bentham today. Remember to be respectful when you see him. I’ve invited him over because he’s the best man I could find in Harvest City.If he wasn’t trying to let his son take over his shop business, we wouldn’t have a chance to see him today.”
“Please to see you here, Marshall,” Master Betham greeted the Knight of Marshall with a simple nod. He was a very big man, standing at 2 meters tall. He had a very solid build. Even at fifty-something of age, the big beard on his face gave a no-nonsense aura around the man.
“Hey there,” the Knight of Marshall smiled without getting too much into formality, “I’ve brought a young man to you today. Apparently, he’s interested in becoming your disciple.”
Master Bentham looked quite perplexed when he laid his eyes on Abel,“Are you talking about this child, Marshall? Please, I know the difference between a “young man” and a “child.” This boy is not even fourteen yet, and you want him to be one of my disciples?”
Suddenly, a lot of people started coming over to see what was going on.
“Master Bentham, this is Abel, my new adopted son. He is currently a Novice Knight, and he wants you to teach him how to control his powers.”
“Nice thinking. Sorry though, I’m not taking him in, “Master Bentham said grimly, “My training is not something a young nobleman can bear. Besides, I don’t think a boy as young as he has the stamina to swing a hammer.”
Abel reached out his arm and flexed for a bit, “Don’t you worry about that, Master Bentham. I can work very hard if I want to, and you aren’t the only muscular one here.”
Abel was about 1.6 meters. He did have some muscles, yes, but that was nothing compared to Maser Betham, who stood at a bear-like height two meters. The stark contrast alone was enough to make everybody around laugh.
“Two more years, Abel. Once you are a bit taller and stronger, I promise that I will teach you how to forge,” Master Bentham said patiently out of respect for the Knight of Marshall.
“How strong do I need to be to train under you?” Abel pressed on stubbornly.
Master Bentham turned back towards the backyard. “Come with me,” he said, to which Abel did with the company of the Knight of Marshall. The other bystanders, too, came in to see if Abel was ready for the challenge ahead.
“How many do you think he can lift?”
“I’d be impressed with one.”
“Nah, two. He’s a Novice Knight. I’ll go with two.”
“I bet one.”
“I bet two.”
As rowdy as the crowd was getting, both the Knight of Marshall and Abel paid no attention to it. When they arrived at the backyard, they saw a bunch of iron pieces being lined up on the ground. There was an iron bar in the middle, and varying sizes of iron pieces on each side going from small to large.
They were essentially barbells. It was not very refined compared to the ones that Abel was familiar with, but the design was nevertheless the same. As it turned out, the cultural background had nothing to do with understanding how the human body functioned
“I use these locks to train my disciples’ strength. You see, they come in different sizes. The smallest ones are 50 pounds, the biggest ones 500. Whenever you go one size bigger, you increase the load by 50 pounds.”
“Get over here, Gedon,” Master Bentham pointed towards a man in the crowd. While he was pretty strong himself, this particular fellow was not much different in terms of stature.
“Master!” Gedon explained anxiously as sweat streamed down his dark face,” I-I I wasn’t being lazy! I was throwing out the metal waste!”
Everybody started laughing. Gedon was a familiar face here at the blacksmith shop. He was recruited after Master Bentham came to the Harry Castle. Whilst originally an apprentice, he quickly became a disciple because of how hardworking he was.
There were a lot of differences between an apprentice and a disciple. Apprentices had it much worse because most of their work was centered around intense physical labor. Usually, it involved cutting and burning timber for the entire day. Even worse, there was no pay.
Disciples, on the other hand, had the privilege to learn from their master directly. At the end of the month, they would also receive a wage that was equivalent to the quality of their work.
Gedon was a very likable student to Master Bentham. He was honest, hardworking and willing to learn. Once Master Bentham retired, he would be the go-to person to continue serving the Knight of Marshall.
“No, Gedon, I’m telling you to come here so you can show Abel how to use the locks. Go ahead and teach him what it takes to be my disciple.”
“Yes Sir,” Gedon smiled modestly as he rubbed his hands together. He then walked to the third lock and turned his head towards Abel.
“Watch me closely, Abel.”
With his hands grasping both ends of the iron bar, Gedon let out a big shout and raised the 150-pound thing from the ground. Because of how easily it went over his head, it almost felt like he was picking up a straw or something.
“Nice one, lad!”
With everyone cheering out for him, Gedon dropped the iron lock onto the ground.
As Gedon turned to his master for some feedbacks, Master Bentham nodded his head in approval, “Keep going, Gedon.”
Yes Sir. Gedon proceeded to the fourth lock, which was roughly 200 pounds in total weight. It wasn’t that hard for him to lift it, though. He readied himself, grabbed onto the thing and picked it up. No drama. It wasn’t so easy when he tried out the fifth one. Still, he managed to raise it over his head after a bit of hesitation.
Things got tense when he walked over to the sixth lock. It was a 300-pound lock. Most people couldn’t even hold one end for more than three seconds, let alone pick it up from the ground.
Gedon didn’t start right away this time. For a few seconds there, he closed his eyes and adjusted his breathing for a bit. Once he was ready, he let out a roar and veins started bursting out of his neck. His face was red like a tomato, except it looked like it was about to explode from the inside.
Nevertheless, the lock went over his head. Everybody was yelling in celebration for him.
“Very well, Gedon,” Master Bentham gave a proud look, “Even with the strength you have now, you are still making progress every single day. It wouldn’t be long before you can surpass even my limits.”
“Really?” Gedon scratched his head as he shied away from the compliment, “Aw, you’re being too kind, Sir! There is still a lot I need to do before I can get to where you’re at.”
“Your turn now, Abel,” Master Betham turned his head towards the boy who dared to challenge him. Contrary to what he had expected, Abel didn’t back down after laying his eyes on Gedon’s performance.Abel was already walking towards the third lock.
To be clear, Abel did approve Gedon of his strength. That being said, there were absolutely no skills in the way he lifted those weights. For the millionth time, Abel was a former bodybuilding trainer. The barbell was one of his favorite pieces of equipment back on Earth. It was his job to be good at using it.
If Gedon’s maximum was around 300 pounds, he could probably lift to 350 pounds if he knew the right techniques. There were a lot of things that were wrong about his form. If he wasn’t so strong already,he would be severely injured right now. Even if he wasn’t injured, there was bound to be a lot of damage in the long term.
“He’s going for the 150?”
“Good grace. He’s not going to do it.”
“Is-is he mad?”
The crowd started being noisy again when it was Abel’s turn. Abel frowned a little because of that. He didn’t like being watched like he was some clown in a circus.
“Out, thank you,” Master Bentham shooed the crowd away. He could tell that Abel didn’t like being watched. As for the reason for this, well, he just thought that Abel didn’t want to be a laughing stock.
Realizing that they’ve angered Master Bentham, the crowd started rushing out of the backyard.
“Try your best, but don’t push yourself too much,” Master Bentham said.