It was until dawn when Nora had left Abel’s room. After his mother was gone, Abel sat quietly on a chair and contemplated his life over the last two years.

Despite his appearance, Abel was a forty-year-old man on the inside. It wasn’t like he didn’t know what the Knight of Bennett was thinking. He agreed very much with the decision that was made for him. If he wasn’t so gifted at such an early age, everything could’ve been normal for him. Instead of leaving to an unknown place at an age as early as twelve, he could’ve left the family when he reached adulthood.

Abel saw what was coming for him, and he was ready to take it. He took out his Horadric Cube, revealed a bottle of the golden qi condensing pill, and opened its cap. He wanted to save it for later, but the challenge ahead would not let him delay. Not long ago, the Bennett Castle was a safeguard that protected Abel’s safety. Without it, he had learned to protect himself with whatever he could lay his hands on.

As the amber-colored liquid slid inside his throat, Abel could feel his inside filled with a vigorous essence. The qi kept on channeling through his muscles, but unlike most regular potions, it did not take away any of the food that he had eaten before. It quickly materializedand was turned into his third meridian. It was doing this at a very steady pace, too. Unlike most times, when he had tried to do it on his own, Abel didn’t have to worry if the process was going to fail.

Abel practiced his breathing techniques every night, but he was never so successful as he was now. On a regular night, he could do twenty sets at most. He would have to take breaks between each one of them. Things were very different tonight. He was going very strong. Even the curtains were moving at the rhythm of his breathing.

It took about half an hour for the potion to wear off. By this time, there were three stabilized meridians inside Abel’s body and some excess qi which could’ve filled in half more. Abel was surprised about this, of course. As it turned, the master’s potion was much more powerful than what Yvette had told him.

Were the rumors wrong, then? Well, not exactly. Technically speaking, a master’s potion was still far from being a “perfect” potion. Asskilled as a potion master might be, human craftsmanship still had its limitations. The Horadric Cube was free from such a flaw, though. Since Abel was crafting his qi condensing potion mechanically, every little detailproportions and suchwere all taken into consideration and was in respect to the “Power of the Rule.”

this was, to put it simply, was a force that belonged to the gods. As a divine item, the Horadric could utilize a fraction of this power to transform whatever item that it contained. This was the reason why the Master’s potion Abel created was much more potent than a regular one. It was like asking a God to help with a novice knight’s training, and what kind of god would be so bored to do that?

It was hard to resist the temptation once it started to kick in. After leveling himself up in just half an hour, Abel decided to take in another bottle of his master’s potion.

And there it was again. In virtually no time whatsoever, qi quickly emerged and became Abel’s fourth meridian. The effect of the potion quickly vanished after it had done its job.

Abel quickly stood up from the ground. He noticed that his entire body was covered in dark, stinky stains. After enhancing his bodily function in such a short period of time, all the dirty substances inside of him were quickly excreted out.

Abel quickly ran to the bathroom to clean himself up. Having used three bucketfuls of water, he tried as hard as he could to scrub away the stench off him. After he was done, he opened up his room’s window and tried to let the wind take the smell away.

Abel was half-naked while he was doing this. He had grown 10 centimeters over the past six months, putting him at 160 cm in height. He was just a kid but the muscles on him were already pronounced.

As buff as he was, Abel was still very humble. He had great respect for the fighters in this world. Whether it was a mercenary or a knight, anyone with a weapon could pull off a very impressive fight. That being said, though, most of them wouldn’t know how to fight properly with their own bodies. If two men were to fight against each other with nothing but their bare fists, they would simply throw straight punches at each other and watch who went down first.

As a former gym trainer, Abel was acquainted with the use of several types of martial arts. He knew boxing, MMA, Muay Thai, and Tai Chi. He wasn’t an expert, so to speak, but the knowledge he possessed has made him a very formidable opponent in any type of hand-to-hand combat.

If it was hand-to-hand combat, Abel could easily defeat Zach, who was, obviously, much taller and stronger than him. Strength wasn’t everything, so they said. With the power of sports science on his side, everyone in this world seemed clumsy to Abel when they fought with nothing but their bare fists.

And very rightly so. In this world, there was hardly any need to develop any hand-to-hand combat system. The humans’ biggest foes were the orcs. Brawling with those monsters head-on was just suicide.

What about against other humans, then? Well, royals solved their disagreements with sword duels. Fighting with no weapon was considered foul and in some way, very disrespectful to one’s opponent.

As Abel practiced a few reps of his standard punches, he could felt a significant increase in his power and speed. It was good and all, but such an improvement was kind of hard to get used to. Just when he was grabbing his wooden cup for a sip of water, his fingers snapped it into shreds.

Too much progress could have their downturns, so it seemed. But that was fine. Abel was twelve years old now, with only one month left before his thirteenth birthday. By that time, he would’ve already made the same achievement as Zach did when he was eighteen.

Abel readied himself for his Tai Chi practice. While he was repeating the moves that were taught to him, he tried to remember what his instructors used to say. From what he could remember, the instructor said that Tai Chi was the best martial art for holding back one’s brute force. Tai Chi was about reserving one’s power, moving in an unending sequence of movements, being able to both escalate and deescalate at the same time and having a natural rhythm while fulfilling all these conditions. It was about harmonizing one’s entire being into a collected wholewhich was much easier said than done.

Abel had to calm himself down after taking that second potion. After stabilizing himself from a state of excitement, he began to act out all 74 postures of his Tai Chi sequence. It was the beginning posture, the vajra pounds mortar, grasp and tuck clothes, all the way until the 74th posture. The Sun was very much up high after he was finally done.

As it turned out, Tai Chi didn’t make you have a weaker punch. It just made you appear weaker than you were. With his Tai Chi techniques activated, Abel noticed that he was much weaker than he truly was when he was looking at himself in the mirror. If he was to tone down his Tai Chi, he was a rank four Novice Knight. But if he was to activate it, he could appear in whatever rank which he so desired. He could not pretend to be at a level that was higher than what he was actually at.

This was very convenient. It was hard to make up a reason to explain why he had ranked up for two in just a single night, but having a camouflage meant that there was no need in doing so. Abel could just keep putting himself at rank two while he was packing up his luggage.