Under the starry night, the great Bennett Castle stood to guard the plain that it was built on. Everything in this territory belonged to the Knight of Bennett. The king granted it to him.
This territory was located at the southmost point of the Duchy of Carmel, right at the crossing border of the Earth-Dividing Mountain Range. It was a location far away from conflict, and it served as a crucial granary to the Duchy of Carmel.
It was summertime now, and the crops were plentiful. Every time the chilling night breeze came by, the whole field danced in uniform to signify the prosperity of this land.
A boy who looked to be around twelve was swinging a sword about the size of his body. As if it wasn't heavy enough for him, this boy was also wearing a steel armor that was clearly oversized for him. He was about 150 centimeters tall, so the armor looked more like a belt as it was covered around him.
As young as he was, this boy took his training seriously. The look on his face suggested that training was something sacred to him. Every time he swung his sword, he shouted with as much vigor in his lungs as he could. There were reasons for that. One, to breath in as much air as he could. Two, to squeeze out all the strength that was in his muscles.
This boy was focused. His black hair was completely drenched in sweat, and those purple eyes of his were glowing with youthlike passion.
Well, they were until he heard the sound of a horse coming his way.
"Look what I've brought to you, Abel," a young man of eighteen called out as he jumped down from his horse. He had blonde hair, thick brows, a tall, edgy nose, and eyes that were as blue as the sky. His whole body was covered in leather armor, and the boots he was wearing were made especially for riding.
"Welcome back, big brother," Abel welcomed his brother back. Unlike most children, he wasn't particularly curious about what the gift was. Manners, for him, was something that came before his own personal interests.
As Abel's older brother, Zach was already used to seeing Abel like this. A year ago, Abel was severely injured after falling off his horse. He became much more mature after that. It was hard to get used to at first, but one year was more than enough to adjust to this sudden change of personality.
For the sake of clarification, both of these young men were sons of the Knight of Bennett. The older one was Zach, a rank four novice knight who just got back from Fort Lee (a town). The younger one, who had been busy with his training, was Abel. It had only been two months since he began his training as a novice knight.
As the oldest heir to the Knight of Bennett, everything his father owned would be passed down to him after he became a knight. He would have full ownership of the Bennett Castle and the estate it was built on. Abel, sadly, was not blessed with such privileges. He had to rely solely on himself if he was to make a living.
As unfair as the rules might seem, Abel had a good relationship with Zach. Every time Zach went to town, he would spend what little money he had to buy presents for Abel. He was a good brother. He did what he could to make Abel happy.
Abel, on the other hand, was considerate enough to not ask for any new training equipment from his father. Although the family's estate was about 50 kilometers in radius, there wasn't much income apart from what they used to buy food with. Worse yet, only 500 gold coins were left after they've paid for their taxes and day-to-day expenses. It was just enough to pay for the maintenance of Bennett Castle. If you were to take out the tuition fee for Zach's knight training, this family practically had no savings at all.
The package Zach had for Abel was a long box. To show how much love that was put into this gift, Zach had it wrapped around in some very colorful paper.
"What a beautiful dagger this is," Abel exclaimed as he waved his gift around. This dagger was made with fine steel, something much heavier than what you'd use to make a regular steel dagger. Normally, a dagger like this would cost a lot more than a normal one.
"Glad to see you like it. The guy selling it didn't know how much it was worth. He sold it to me for 30% off the price of a regular dagger, so I took it."
"Glad to see you like it." Zach meant what he said. It's been a while since he saw his little brother smiling like a kid. For him, nothing was more precious than the expression Abel was showing just now.
"You can keep training if you want. I'll go back back home now," Zach said as he got back on his horse. He wasn't planning on interrupting with Abel's training, even if he had to wait for his turn to use the only steel armor that they've had. It was Zach during the day, and Abel during the night. It's something that they've agreed between themselves.
A novice knight's training was mostly about the basics. One must keep practicing his sword techniques until he could effectively condense all the strength that could be exerted. In turn, a special power, namely one's 'qi,' would start forming inside his body as a reward to the efforts that were given. The qi would then slowly gathered up and form a "meridian", and the total number of these meridians would represent one's total ranks. (Having a total of one meridian would signify that you're a rank one novice) After five meridians were in place, they would condense themselves again to form a core.
A knight with a core would be considered a proper knight. They could use their combat qi in fights, and they could use their combat qi to perform various fighting skills. In other words, combat qi was an effective asset to boost one's fighting capability.
After millennia of research, it was found that the most effective way to forming one's meridian was to have him wear heavy armor during his training. For this very reason, it became mandatory for knight families to have at least one steel armor set inside their homes. In order to be called a knight, one must have armor that he could engage in his training with. During times of conflict, he would also need it to provide for minimal protection.
By decreasing or increasing the number of plates, the same armor could be shared even if the wielders were in different ranks. That being said, one did not have to own an armor to be called a knight. If he was to be seen wearing an armor (even if it wasn't his) on a horse, he would be instantly recognized as a knight, no matter how low his rank was.
"97…98…99...100," Abel chanted as he made his final swing, then collapsed right on the grass field below him. His purple eyes were looking straight at the sky above him. "Which of these stars was my original home?" He asked himself.
Unbeknownst to others, the original Abel fell off his horse and died about one year ago. His corpse was replaced by another soul that came from planet Earth, and unlike the original Abel, who was only about ten years old, the new Abel was about thirty years old in his actual age.
Despite having behaved as carefully as he could, it was hard for the new Abel not to have the others suspect him for his change of personality. Fortunately for him, however, everyone just thought that he was traumatized by his injury.
This particular "Abel" had another name back home. The name he had on planet Earth was Lee Ya Bo. He was an experienced bodybuilding trainer who was always busy with his work. One night, at about ten o'clock at night, he came back to his apartment whilst not feeling so good about himself. Because of this, he decided to open up his laptop and open up Diablo 2, one of the few games he still had in reserve.
He opened up his software, played Diablo 2 for a bit, and found that the quantity of his Tome of Town Portal was 0. He had the bad habit of forgetting to buy his Scroll of Town Portal, so he opened up his hacking software and modified his items for a bit. He hacked the game so that the quantity of his Scroll of Town Portal would regenerate themselves once every few minutes.
Lee Ya Bo was having a time of his life, but a bolt of lightning struck and hit him right when he was inside his home. The lightning conductor did absolutely nothing. The lightning didn't even bend as it was dropped straight down at him.
And that's pretty much it. After he regained consciousness, Ya Bo found himself to be the second son of the Knight of Bennett. Weirdly enough, though, his name was still Ya Bo (Abel).
Whilst trying to get rid of the thoughts in his head, Abel stood up and headed back towards Bennett Castle. He was feeling quite good about himself on that day. If things went well for him, there was a chance that he would become a rank 1 novice knight on the same night.
After coming back home, Abel decided to do something first before having dinner. There was still about half an hour before mealtime, so he was thinking about giving some care to his steel armor.
Abel took cleaning very seriously. He never missed a spot when he was wiping the sweat off his steel armor and furnishing it with oil. It was a custom for knights to take care of their armor. Whether it was Abel, Zach, or even the Knight of Bennett himself, they had to maintain their armor in a way that they could pass it down to the next generation.
After Abel was done with the armor, it was his giant sword that came next. It was relatively easy to clean it, mainly because of how simple its design was. Apart from the blade and the handle, there was no decoration or ornament whatsoever. Whoever made this weapon had only two considerations in mind: simplicity and practicality.
After finishing his daily maintenance, Abel took a shower and joined his family in the dining room. As he came in, he found that his father, mother and older brother already on their seats.