The First Days since Reincarnation
To Lorist, that theory regarding Battle Force awakening couldn't be more wrong and he held the opinion that research efforts into Battle Force awakening was heading down the wrong path. It was just like one of the Confucian sayings in his past life: everything starts off pure and unblemished until it is tainted by the whims and agendas of those in power. The sycophantic Grindian historians were somewhat like that. For the sake of gaining favor with the nobles, they were willing to come up with nonsensical theories regarding the relationship between Battle Force awakening and noble family bloodlines to justify the necessity for the exalted, towering existences of the noble families.
That line of thinking was contradictory as well. If the history on the origins of Battle Force was true, then that would mean that the Sword Gods and Saints from whom the noble families had descended were merely cannon fodder created by the magi. In the battles depicted in 'The War of the Gods', army after army of Sword Gods were sent to die on the battlefield. There were easily thousands of Sword Gods in an army and most of them perished anyway. Even most Sword Saints could only barely survive should they possess miraculous luck. Lorist really wondered what the nobles thought about the fact that their ancestors were created to be expendable human shields.
Even though the original owner of Lorist's body was a noble, having been raised in a society based not on familial heritage but rather individual merits in his past life, he could not appreciate the difference in status between the nobles and the common folk as the inhabitants of this world did. To him, he still felt like he was that small time urbanite craftsman past his forties who's busy managing his little workshop.
That fateful night, he only met up with his former comrades for some drinks. How and why did he wake up in Norton Lorist's body the next day? The small time workshop owner was shocked and frantic. Fortunately, the body unto which his soul had reincarnated had been badly hurt and could not move in bed for two whole months, giving him enough time to reorient himself and assimilate the memories of the body's owner. And given the original owner's detestable personality, his caretakers could not be bothered to pay much attention to him, allowing the sudden switch in behavior go unnoticed.
In his past life, he was born in a small town in the Jiangnan Province of China into a relatively well off family, which, incidentally, also had a tradition of martial cultivation. His grandfather was a practitioner in the ancient Chinese medicinal arts and was also a martial arts expert who had trained to the realm of the Dark Stage. He recalled that his house had an Eight-Immortals Table that had a small bump on the surface with a diameter of a small winecup. In his childhood, a red-faced man from Henan came to challenge his grandfather. His grandfather poured himself and the man a cup of wine, made a toast, and slowly pushed the winecup against the bump on the table until the surface of the table was completely level and flat. The red-faced man stared wide-eyed, saluted his grandfather, and left without touching his wine.
His father has always had a weak body and his second and third uncles worked far away from home. His grandfather raised his father and his siblings very strictly and had forced them to learn Chinese medicine since their childhood. They trained incessantly: in the morning, they memorized the meridians of the body while in the night, they studied recipes for herbal concoctions. Their days were tough, but nevertheless fulfilling. During Lorist's childhood in his past life, he was very playful and caused much trouble in that little town he lived in with his cousins.
But he got sick of his insipid lifestyle and wanted to explore the vast world around him. Given his poor grades in high school and his tendency to get into fights, he eventually quit school and joined the army.
His seven years in the army was not an uneventful one. He worked his way up to the rank of a sergeant. But the times have changed; the country desired peace and stability and society has shifted its focus towards the economy instead. The army, once beloved by the people, has fallen out of the citizens' favor and gradually faded into the background, solemnly enduring and silently protecting their country. When the next conscription period arrived, he retired from the army after getting news about his parents' ill health and returned home to inherit his father's crafts workshop.
The transition from a soldier to a businessman wasn't an easy one. From making souvenirs to forging antiques, he did whatever he could as long as it paid off. Thinking back, the hopes his grandfather had placed upon him to become a famed practitioner of Chinese medicinal arts and perpetuate the family's traditions were never fulfilled. Years later, he made quite a bit of money off his business but gained quite a bit of weight. He couldn't recall how long it had been since he last trained in the Aquametal Technique.
Even though he got married and had several kids, owned a luxurious car, and lived in a grand mansion, he still felt that his life was empty and devoid of any meaning. That was why occasionally, he would meet up with his old comrades to have some drinks and talk about the good old days while they got drunk on the nostalgia. Who knew, during one of these drinking parties, he woke up in the body of Norton Lorist the next day.
According to the memories of Lorist, also referred by many as Locke, his family had been enfeoffed a dominion in the northern highlands of the Krissen Empire. Although his father was only a baron, the land enfeoffed to the Norton family was incredibly vast, though most of it were desolate mountains and the population under their rule only numbered thousands. His family was not very wealthy, with only a small town and castle under their control as well as a small copper mine that served as their main source of income.
Originally a hunter, the progenitor of the Norton family joined the army of the founding emperor, Krissen I, as a scout after hearing a call to arms echoed by a group of traveling bards. He has since experienced hundreds of battles and accomplished many deeds, winning the trust and favor of the emperor and granted knighthood, despite being of peasant birth.
Following the campaign that had stabilized the foundations of the empire, Krissen I asked his loyal vassal what he wanted. The Norton family founder said that he wished to return to his homeland and live out the rest of his life there. Looking at the old knight whose hair had already turned white, Krissen I let out a long sigh and took out a map. Seeing that the northern highlands were mostly desolate mountains, he drew out a large area and granted the territory to the knight, who was subsequently styled baron, and granted him the highly-ranked Blazing Battle Force manual, hoping that the baron's descendants will continue to safeguard the northern borders.
In present day, seven generations had elapsed since the first ancestor of the Norton family. Lorist's father had two other brothers. He was the eldest among them and had inherited both the land and the title while his second brother, Lorist's second uncle, joined the royal guard in the capital. Lorist had never met this uncle of his. He only heard that his second uncle was doing quite well in the capital. His third uncle was the head of business affairs of the Norton family and also the one who brought Lorist to the Dawn Academy.
In his memories, Lorist's mother was a pretty and gentle woman. His grandfather on his mother's side was a great merchant who incidentally had used quite a sum of money to purchase a title for convenience in future business dealings. He also had another uncle, his mother's brother, who was a hardcore bibliophile. Lorist had a strict father, a reckless and brawny elder brother and a loving mother. His childhood was a happy one until that day when his mother died from giving birth to his younger brother, causing him to lose her for good. He was only seven at that time.
Lorist, who was no longer the center of attention in his family, had always blamed his mother's death on his younger brother. He felt that his younger brother had taken away his precious mother as well as the affection given to him by his family, and considered him to be the main cause for his woes. He despised his brother from the depths of his heart.
It only took one year for him to awaken his Battle Force at the age of thirteen after he started to receive the Norton family's formal training, resulting in him gaining much praise from his usually strict and serious father for greatly exceeding his expectations. Happily walking into the garden, he saw his brother sitting near the well, playing with one of the female servants. Feeling a sudden rush of hatred, Lorist pushed his younger brother down into the well.
The servant screamed in terror and within a moment, he was instantly surrounded by people. Feeling great rage, his father slapped him hard and knocked him out cold.
He woke up in a small bedroom and saw the head butler, Gleis, looking in his direction with a contemptful gaze. He informed Lorist that he was grounded until his father decided on his punishment. Before he left, he told Lorist that his brother had been rescued and had suffered no physical injury but was in a state of shock and was down with a cold due to being submerged in cold water for too long.
Three days later, the verdict had been set: he was to be exiled from his homeland to Morante City where he would further his studies. Without any summons from his family, he was forbidden to return to his home.
Both his elder brother and the head butler pleaded for his sake, but his father was resolute with his decision, reasoning that in the harsh and desolate environment of the northern lands, the Norton family wouldn't have survived this long without unity and harmony among the family members. "The thing Lorist did greatly shocked everyone; he had attempted to murder his blood-related, five-year-old brother! Even if he was forgiven this time, it would only sow seeds of conflict and disharmony in the family. That is why I have decided to exile him," declared his father.
Frightened beyond his wits after waking up in a body of a fourteen-year-old youth, the confused workshop owner suffered from conflicting and intertwining memories and couldn't reconcile his two contrasting identities. Ten days later, he managed to calm down and conjectured that maybe, he had crossed into a parallel world, much like the plotlines of the many webnovels he had read.
Although he had inherited the memories of the young Locke, the world in which he had reincarnated still awed and mystified him to no end. Given the extent of his injuries, he was wrapped up in bandages and looked very much like a mummy. Unable to move and wracked with pain, coupled with the longing for his folks of his past life, it wasn't uncommon for tears to be streaming down from his eyes.
After more than ten days, the workshop owner finally accepted his predicament and steeled his resolve to continue to live on as Norton Lorist, or, Locke. To better understand this new environment, he paid his plump, freckled caretaker more money and requested her to read to him books about the history of this world. The original owner of the body took no interest such topics and had little information about it in his memories.
The plump female caretaker brought him a book titled 'The Ten-thousand Year Annals of Grindia'. Lorist was initially shocked at the title because a civilization that could have ten thousand years of recorded history must be a rather advanced one. Though, after the caretaker started reading, Lorist understood that most of it weren't proper historical records but rather a collection of myths and legends one after another. Only the final two to three thousand years sounded more accurate.
According to the legends, the fairy race ruled Grindia millenniums ago and humans were merely a small race that lived under the rule of the fairies. At that time, the fairy race had been in conflict with the dragon race for thousands of years and the humans, who were under their protection, also suffered as a result. Amidst the long years of war, a tribe of gremlins used their wisdom and intellect to create a never before seen type of magically-powered war machines and achieved victory for the fairy race.
However, the machines greatly polluted and damaged the environment and a faction of nature-loving fairies revolted, causing another conflict to erupt. The surprising thing was: the lofty, nature-loving fairies who vowed to teach the other faction a lesson were decimated under the might of the gremlin-made magical war machines. In the end, the gremlins rose to supremacy and became the masters of Grindia.
Despite that, the gremlins who were by nature curious and intrigued by the mysteries of technological discoveries and inventions had no intention of ruling the continent. After a hundred years of chaos and anarchy, the beastmen from the western part of the continent invaded and brought with them a bloody trail of death and destruction.
The gremlins' mighty war machines fell one after another to the suicidal, savage assaults of the blood-drinking beastmen with their thick, tough hides, bringing an end to the rule of the gremlins.
The beastmen who had just ascended to the apex of the Grindia continent erected a reign of fear and violence, eventually prompting all the other races to unite and revolt.
This was the start of yet another war that lasted hundreds of years. The humans strived to learn every type of craft from the many other races who were struggling against the beastmen. They studied the arcane arts of magic and warfare from the fairies, construction and forging from the dwarves as well as trading and engineering from the gremlins, and, with their large numbers, became an indispensable force in the war against the beastmen. When their beastly oppressors had finally been chased back to the wilderness in the west, the humans took up the mantle of the strongest race of Grindia.
After that came the prosperous golden age of the magical civilization which lasted thousands of years until the mages initiated a large scale war with the gods. The end of the magical age came suddenly as the magical energy on the continent started to dwindle inexplicably.
 sycophantic: adj. behaving or done in an obedient way in order to gain advantage. Source: Google
 Ba-Xian Table: See Wikipedia.
 progenitor: noun. An ancestor or parent. Source: Google