Chapter 15: Learning How to Forge
Translator: Exodus Tales Editor: Exodus Tales
Since there was no drying powder here, Abel rubbed his hands with some mud he found on the ground. His mind might have been old, but his body still belonged to that of a child. With that being the case, it was very important for him to take care of himself in whatever small ways he could.
Whilst standing in front of the 150-pound lock, Abel had his legs parallel to the middle of the bar. When he tightened his grip, his thumbs were separate from his other fingers. When he picked the lock above his head, he did it in one motion and had his arms completely straight while doing so.
It was a beautiful lift, smooth and well-coordinated. The lock was only 150 pounds, yes, but in Master’s Bentham’s eyes, Abel clearly did it better than Gedon. Not only was he faster, but he also seemed more effortless when he was doing it.
The Knight of Marshall, on the other hand, was more focused on the way Abel used his muscles. He began by setting his feet up as a base, channeled his power through his thighs, waist and upper back, and executed the movement with his whole body moving in one with his arms.
Abel might not know yet, but what he did was the same as strength conservation, which was an advanced technique of the knights. For a child to have such a good understanding of muscle movement, Abel was truly blessed with talent.
After dropping the 150 pounds, Abel walked towards the 200 pounds and easily raised it. His form was the same as last time, and his speed was just as fast.
250. Easy. And just like that, as Master Bentham and Gedon watched in total shock, Abel was already standing in front of the 300 pounds.
This time, Abel had his hands closer to the middle of the bar. After doing a few prep hinges without any weight, he raised the lock and had it locked near his shoulder, meanwhile standing up with his legs slightly bent. His forearms were bent whilst pointing forward, and his chin was parallel to the bar. Then, slowly and steadily, he straightened his arms and raised the lock on top of his head.
As though woken up from a dream, Master Bentham turned to the Knight of Marshall, “Where did you find this monster, Marshall?”
The Knight of Marshall wasn’t too pleased with what Master Bentham was saying, “Hey, who are you calling a monster here? He’s a rank four Novice Knight, goddammit! If he can’t even lift 300 pounds off the ground, what kind of rank four Novice Knight is he?”
“Oh, my spirits!” Master Bentham exclaimed as he looked towards Abel, “A rank four Novice Knight? How old are you, child?”
“Turning thirteen soon, Sir,” Abel replied.
“You’re twelve? You’re a twelve-year-old, rank four Novice Knight,” Master Bentham threw a dirty look at the Knight of Marshall, “Marshall? What kind of madman would send a genius like him to be your son?”
“Why you looking at me like that?” the Knight of Marshall cried out loud, “Hey, you. I’m an Intermediate Knight myself!”
“Yeah, but didn’t you just become one? Marshall, isn’t it better to send him to a commander? Actually, for someone as talented as him, you reckon we can send him to the head commander?”
“Just… Ugh! Don’t you worry about it. Just let him stay with you and teach him how to forge, okay friend?”
The Knight of Marshall was a good friend with Master Bentham. If it wasn’t for that, he would’ve never had him come over to the Harry knight’s domain. That being said, however, Master Bentham was quite a loudmouth. His “straightforwardness” has caused a lot of headaches in the past.
“So be it, then,” Master Bentham agreed but decided to keep on talking, “I’ll let Abel stay, but are you sure you’re the right man to teach Abel how to be a knight, Marshall? I’m just saying, the kid’s got a bright future ahead of him.”
“Alright Abel, be a good boy for me. Stay here and learn from Master Bentham during the day. At night, You’ll learn the techniques of a knight inside the castle.”
Having said that, the Knight of Marshall rushed out of the blacksmith shop. For a second there, he looked like he was trying to escape the scene here.
Master Bentham, too, started walking back to his workshop. “You should’ve taught him the basics first, Gedon,” he said before he left.
Gedon said to Abel as it was just the two of them now, “Wow Abel. You’re pretty strong, aren’t you?”
“You are pretty strong yourself, Gedon,” Abel replied. Even without being trained as a knight, Gedon was already strong enough as a normal human being.
Gedon rejected the praise, “But I’m so much older than you. I’m already nineteen, and you’re just twelve. And look at how easy it was for you to lift the 300-pound lock! You seemed so confident when you were doing it. I’m sure you can lift more if you wanted to.”
“You know, you can lift more if you know how to use all of your strength. If you want to, I can teach you how to lift those locks as I do.”
“Wow. Are you sure?” Gedon almost jumped from where he was standing, “You think I can learn those techniques? Hey, how about we share what we know with each other? You teach me how to lift, and I’ll teach you everything I know about forging. Not just forging. Feel free to ask me about anything that I might know.”
It was about one month since Abel’s arrival at Harry Castle. There were about three days before New Year’s Eve. For all the time he’s been here, Abel pretty much spent all his time learning at the blacksmith shop.
Thanks to Gedon, it wasn’t hard for Abel to learn about the fundamentals of forging. He was actually in the middle of crafting a heavy sword for Zach, his beloved older brother. It was meant to be a new year gift for him.
Whilst holding onto a red hot base with a pair of tongs, Abel smashed it into shape with a 10-pound hammer in his other hand. Since the base would start to cool down after a few minutes, Abel had to heat it in the stove every once in a while.
Since this world was not yet industrialized, blacksmiths had to rely on very primitive techniques to forge their metals. To put it simply, their job was nothing more than heating metals, smashing them with a hammer, letting it cool down and repeating the whole process. As dull as that sounded, however, it was, by no means, something that anyone could do.
The long sword Knight of Marshall had was treated 100 times before the final product was finished. At best, an average blacksmith could only treat a base for about 30 to 40 times. Gedon was the disciple of Master Bentham, so he could do about 60. Only a master could make a base that’s been treated for 100 times.
Having read a few scientific catalogs himself, it wasn’t hard for Abel to understand the theory behind such forging methods. By repeatedly hammering the base, it essentially eliminated the amount of carbon inside. This meant that the more it was treated, the purer the resulting metal would be.
Having used a hammer for about a month, Abel was already pretty skilled with the art of forging. For a child as bright as him, he could now pinpoint the exact spot he needed to hit. Speaking of which, the base he was working on had already been treated for 50 times. At that stage, it became very difficult to shape the base into its desired shape. Not only would the base be extremely dense to mold, but the blacksmith would also be too tired to swing his hammers.
Not Abel though. Even after treating the base for a total of 50 times, he was still swinging his arms at a very steady pace. Master Bentham knew about this, of course. Even without having taught Abel anything directly, he’s been keeping a close watch this whole time.
Master Bentham didn’t teach Abel himself because there wasn’t a need to. Abel was bound to be a knight, so the most he ought to learn about forging were pretty much just the basics. Besides, Gedon had been learning from Master Bentham for about five years already. In that sense, he was qualified to be supervising a young apprentice like Abel.
Whenever Master Bentham saw Abel forging a base, there was always a bizarre sense of harmony lingering in the air. Abel wasn’t fast. It would take about one second for him to swing once with his hammer.
Technically, this wasn’t too hard to do. Anyone could swing a 10-pound hammer for a few hundred times. But to treat a base 50 times? That would take about tens of thousands of continuous swinging from morning to noon. You’d have to keep doing this without any time for rest.
Truth be told, Abel came up with this way of hammering the base. He got his idea from boxing. To throw a heavy punch, one could not just rely solely on the power of his arms. It was about using every part of your point and concentrating all that power into one point.
This was exactly what Abel was doing. For every swing of his hammer, he was channeling his strength from his feet to his arms. And when the hammer hit the base, he would use the reaction force to his advantage and raise to hammer back to its original height. As energy-efficient as this technique was, it was difficult to perform it. Abel, however, had more than enough time on his hands. With the right amount of practice and knowledge, he soon found himself the ideal ways to forge a metal base.
“Why does this child have to be a Novice Knight?” Master Bentham would often ask himself. Someone as talented as Abel should’ve never been learning how to fight on a battle’s frontline. With Abel’s ability to learn and the level he was currently, he would be a master blacksmith if he was to spent a few more years in the workshop. It was sad, yes, but that was just how things were.
Having forgotten to eat his lunch, Abel was finally able to treat the base for a total of 80 times before two in the afternoon. He decided to stop after that. After a base was treated for 80 times, he could no longer hammer it with—even all of his strength.