Being a gym trainer probably had something to do with this. For reasons he wasn’t sure of, Abel learned how to fight as knight fairly quickly. He had good reflexes and forms. What he lacked in experience and strength, he would certainly make up for as he got older.
The Bennett Family system taught the use of multiple types of weapons. There was archery, lancing, sword-and-shield play, heavy shield, etc. After about half a year of non-stop training, Abel learned all there was to learn. It was kind of unfair for Zach, in a way, so much so that he had often made complaints to the Spirits. “But that took me more a year!” He would often cry out, and the Knight of Bennett would always wear an ominous look on his face. Abel wasn’t sure what his father was thinking of, but he knew something was about to happen soon.
Over these past few months, Abel did not take a single drop of his master’s potion. After learning about the importance of heritage from his father, he decided that it was only right to take supplements after he knew all the right techniques. Still, in a very short period of time, he managed to become a rank two Novice Knight with just his raw talent.
On one particular night, Abel knew something was wrong when he sat down for dinner. He noticed how red and swollen Nora’s eyes were. He also saw a very resolute expression on his father’s face.
“Abel, my son,” the Knight of Bennett stood up as Abel had just picked up his fork, “You are the most talented child I have seen in all of my life. The Holy Light has granted you wisdom and courage, but the Bennett Family does not have the resources to raise you to your full potential. This is a great loss to the family name and a disgrace to one who guides us all.”
The Knight of Bennett threw a glance at his wife, then back to his two sons. He continued on in a coarser voice, “I have made an agreement with a fellow knight of mine. His name is Marshall. For the next few years, Abel will train to be a knight under his teaching. If Abel manages to meet his expectations, he will be inheriting the unicorn symbol, which is the coat of arm of the Harry family.”
Abel knew who the Knight of Marshall was. The Knight of Marshall was his father’s best friend. They fought alongside each other during the war against the orcs. During the most desperate times, they saved each other’s life and came back home together.
Unlike the Knight of Bennett, the Knight of Marshall never had a child. His only wife died in an incident, and he was never married after that. For all the years that the Marshall family had been without an heir, he just kept on staying in the castle where his wife was buried.
It was no easy choice for the Knight of Bennett to send Abel away. Abel wasn’t just going to have his surname changed. As a matter of fact, he was going to cut his ties with his real family. He would be wearing a different coat of arms on his clothes, his armor, and his flag. That’s probably how it was going to be for the rest of his life.
Having a talented child was a very troubling thing for the Knight of Bennett. He had thought all kinds of different options before, including sending him to his wife’s father, Keith. Still, it had been a long time since he last contacted Keith. Besides, Keith was a merchant. He had money, yes, but simply having money was not enough to raise someone to be a knight. Also, Keith lived all the way up at Koror Duchy, which made it very hard to keep in touch with Abel if he was sent over there.
Seth Bennett. That was the real name of the Knight of Bennett. He was commonly referred with the Bennet title because, well, he was the only one of his kind living on this plain. Two centuries ago, his ancestors became royals because of their contributions to the war. They were also rewarded with a piece of land. Its name was originally the “Bennett Honorary Lord’s Domain,” but now it was just the “Bennett Knight’s Domain.”
The direct descendants of the Bennett family lived in Bakong City, which was a major city located inside Carmel Duchy. If Abel was sent there, it was very likely for him to become a regular knight. There was a trade-off for doing so, however. It would mean that Abel would become a bodyguard for a direct descendant of the Bennett Family. He would have to sacrifice his own personal freedom, and if the circumstances called for it, his own life. There was no way the Knight of Bennett would let that happen to his second son.
There was another reason, the Knight of Bennett wouldn’t want Abel to lose the status of a royalty. It was something that he had already decided, long before Abel was even born. As the proud Knight of Bennett, he would only make a request from his kinsmen if the Bennett Knight’s Domainwere to regain its old title as the territory of an Honorary Lord. It was a crucial way of him maintaining his pride, so to speak.
Marshall Harry was a different man to the Knight of Bennett. First of all, his family had a very prestigious name in Bakong City. With the help of his family, Marshall Harry was also rewarded with a Knight’s Domain after a war. It was land just 300 miles away from the Bennett Knight’s Domain, mainly because of his ties with the Knight of Bennett. Everything there was newly built, apparently. Even the castle was made of new bricks and stones.
The Harry family had a long and fine history to it.A few Elite Knights came to be because of them. And while their philosophy was different from that of the Bennett family, the two had great respect for each other’s achievements in the past.
Marshal Harry had always wanted to adopt a son. He had said it on many occasions, but it was hard to find someone with the right conditions. He wasn’t just looking for a child that he could look after. He was looking for an heir that he could pass his family name onto.
That being said, the child he would adopt must have royal blood inside of him.Ironically, though, most royal children already had their futures planned ahead of them. Suppose a man had three sons. Even if the eldest was to become the heir, it was very easy for him to disqualify after, say, a lost duel or a common disease. Whatever might take away his life, the next child would always be a back-up solution. And there really wasn’t a royal family with just one child. Everyone wanted more kids. The only problem, really, was with how much wealth was distributed to educate them.
Abel was a genius. The Knight of Bennett was very certain of that. He knew how talented Abel was, and there was no way he would let that talent go to waste. Yes, even if such a decision comes with a cost. Sending Abel away was a great loss to the Bennett Family.
All because there wasn’t enough money in the family. No wonder everyone was so grim during dinner. Zach kept having his beef sliding out of his fork, which was an act that would usually receive the immediate condemnation from the Knight of Bennett.Strangely, however, the Knight of Bennett just kept on eating his food in silence.
Nora was the only one who didn’t hide away her emotions. She barely ate anything during dinnertime, and instead spent of her time sobbing and wiping away her tears.
After dinner was over, the Knight of Bennett had Abel come to his study for a chat.
As the place for storing some of the family’s most important documents, the study was usually locked up for anyone except the Knight of Bennett himself. That being said, it was the first time that Abel had laid his eyes on it.
Just by a first glance, Abel could tell that it was a very big room. On one side of the white wall, there were portraits of previous owners of the Bennett Castle. The other side was stuffed with tall bookshelves, which contained various sizes of red or black books.
In the middle of the study was a big, wooden desk. From what Abel could see, it had a very smooth surface to it, which was most likely due to the years of paperwork that were signed on top of it. This was, in other words, the core of Bennett’s Knight Domain. All commands, big or small, were officialized at this very spot right here.
The Knight of Bennett walked over towards the desk. He dragged out a big box made of oak wood. It was a fancy box, laced with deer hides and had a red bronze handle on top of it. As the Knight of Bennett opened it, Abel could see a tidy set of armor inside.
A half-body Cuir bouilli. Both the front and back were decorated with small, shiny square pieces of metal. From the shoulder to the wrist were multiple layers of galvanized iron. This was quite an unusual set of armor, which was a mix between a leather set and a metal set. Not only was it cheaper than a full steel gear or chainmail, but it was also more resistant than something purely made of animal skins.
“I got this cuir-bouilli during my battle against the orcs. After I killed an inferno bovine, I carried its corpse to an armorsmith and had him craft an armor set from it,” said the Knight of Bennett as he took out the lower half of the armor from the box. It was a pair of leather jeans with galvanized iron as the knee guard.
“Here is a light longsword, a pair of leather boots and a pair of gloves. I don’t have a lot of previous things to give you, my child.”
Abel’s eyes were starting to swell it. He noticed this armor set now. It was his father’s back-up set. As it was impossible for a knight to have possess only one set of armor, he had to have a back-up to wear when the original was sent for maintenance. If the original set was elsewhere, the Knight of Bennett would have to fight without protection.
But there was no hesitation. No refusal, either.As Abel took over the box, he was starting to feel the weight of a father’s love. There was no other gift that could be as precious as this.
After Abel came back to his room, he saw that his mother had already been waiting for him. Unlike the Knight of Bennett, her parting gifts were much simpler. There were jackets, shirts, a training suit, formal suits and several pieces of handkerchiefs. It was clothing, more clothing and nothing else.
Nora didn’t cry this time. She just held onto Abel’s hand and talked to him.She spoke slowly and patiently. It was mostly about how Abel should get along with others once he was in the outside world.
The night was quiet, but the Bennett Castle remained alight. Nobody had slept.