It was already near dawn when Locke regrouped with his cavalry platoon.
"Hey, Boss!" A Faustian soldier on a horse who was patrolling around the war-torn city saw Locke from a distance.
"Hey, kid," Locke said with a smile. He couldn't remember the name of this soldier, but he looked familiar, so he was definitely part of his platoon.
"Where's Herr Wyr?" Locke asked. The blocks nearby were full of patrolling Faustian soldiers. Most of the surrounding houses were affected by the war and burned to coke. The residents of Shalor who lived nearby were nowhere to be seen even until now.
"Herr Wyr is ahead." The soldier pointed to where he was.
"Alright, thank you," Locke patted his shoulder and then rode towards Wyr's direction.
The soldier was around the same age as Locke, yet he was addressed as 'kid'. At the end of the day, age didn't matter much in the face of status.
After Locke left, the soldier scratched his head and wondered, weren't Jarl Locke and Herr Wyr together back then? However, he didn't continue thinking about it and continued patrolling.
Wyr was mounted on his warhorse by a campfire and looking into the distance.
"Herr." After Locke got close, he approached and greeted him. It was all thanks to Wyr's help that he was able to bring Glace and the rest into the city and he was extremely grateful.
"Hmm, you're back." Wyr noticed him long ago, but he didn't ask where Locke had gone or what he had done.
"Aside from the cavalry, most of the infantry have gone and surrounded the palace," Wyr said. It turned out he was looking in the direction of the palace.
"Have Hans and the rest have gone as well?" Locke was curious.
"Of course not," Wyr smiled and said, "How can we soldiers serving the nobles be allowed into such an important area like the palace?"
Locke understood. The palace was now the richest place in the city, and as soon as the gate was breached, the short palace walls were nothing to the Faustian soldiers. The Faustian corps were pining after its riches; no one doubted that it contained most of the wealth of Audis and, by extension, Shalor.
Locke and those serving in the nobles' private armies were not qualified to partake in the lion's share.
"Does the baron have any orders?" Locke asked. He did not believe that the shrewd Cardoj would be indifferent towards the wealth of the city.
"Of course, we'll be expropriating as usual," Wyr, who was almost always stern, suddenly grinned, showing two rows of neat white teeth.
Locke was familiar with the so-called expropriation. Ever since entering the territory of Shalor, their battalion participated in many sieges and in each one of it, there would be some nobles involved.
Locke was very grateful for the decision to have Glace and the rest stay in a commoner's house. He believed that no fool would go to such a place to fish for anything, and there was no need to worry that the three girls would be exposed.
"What should we do now?" Locke was puzzled by the cavalry platoon's current state of inactivity. The other infantry units had gone to make their fortunes; soldiers got to secretly keep a third of spoils from plundering homes for themselves as an unwritten rule; the officers would keep quiet and close one eye to their actions. Yet their platoon was here standing in the night breeze doing nothing.
"The higher-ups ordered us to blockade the road here," Wyr replied.
Of course, the 'higher-ups' he mentioned did not refer to Cardoj. It was most likely an order from military command to prevent the Shalorians in the city from escaping. Every escaped noble was a huge loss for Faustian.
There were bound to be other units blockading other areas. Locke did not take Glace and the others out of the city because he was afraid of encountering those units. While he would be fine, the other three couldn't afford to be scrutinised.
Cardoj asked the cavalry platoon to erect a blockade here because they were unfit for plundering homes in the city. With them being weighed down by their war horses and heavy armour, their looting efficiency was low.
Then, Wyr and Locke started chatting. He was very optimistic about Locke. Locke was someone from a commoner background who became a platoon jarl, a feat which impressed Wyr. Now that he had received special care from the division jarl and even the princess, his future was limitless.
They chatted about their current task, impetus training knowhow, and even the actions of the major corps after the city was breached. Wyr was not a talkative person, but he was more patient towards Locke.
When talking about the three margrave households of Shalor, Wyr paused.
"The three margrave households have been encircled and suppressed by the military. The House Clark is dealt with by Falcon, and House Campbell is handled by Gale. I heard that this was strongly requested by the soldiers of Gale themselves." Wyr ground his teeth, as if he had foreseen the imminent tragedy of House Campbell.
Before the battle began, Locke took a glance at the soldiers of Gale from a distance and saw that most of them were no different from the soldiers of Falcon. If there was anything different, these soldiers of Gale wore solemn expressions, completely unlike the imposing and strong-willed Falcon troops.
Locke really couldn't imagine how this group of soldiers managed to commit slaughter. Each of them had on average two civilian lives on their hands.
Did they really hold the late Margrave Woode in that high regard? Locke had never seen him in person and wasn't aware of how charismatic this margrave was.
"But it won't get out of control this time. After all, the prince is here," Wyr laughed. "The prince will stop them as long as more than half of House Campbell perishes." Wyr's casual tone gave Locke the chills. He had killed many Shalorian barbarians, but they were all professional soldiers; he rarely touched the common folk.
As for House Felippe, Wyr did not mention them much, and Locke knew that Lion would deal with them. As the last surviving margrave of Shalor and the god of prosperity, he was the prime target in the royal capital. Only Lion led by Kenzir was allowed to encircle and hunt them down.
Never would Wyr have thought that Locke, had just left Felippe's mansion a few hours ago. It was estimated that not long after Locke and the others left, the soldiers of Lion surrounded the margrave's mansion.
There was no point in continuing to chat with Wyr; Locke also found that he wasn't too fond of talking. He told him he wanted to lead a 10-men cavalry squad to patrol around.
"Tell George to go with you. That kid is clever," Wyr suggested.
"Sure!" Locke said casually.
George was the son of John, the old butler of Cardoj. Only a few people in the battalion knew about it, and Wyr was one of them. He met John at the slave market when he and Cardoj were staying in the Aomar Empire.
After Cardoj purchased John and rescued him from slavery, the man followed the baron to this day. Due to the many years of friendship, Wyr took care of John's eldest son George too. In addition to giving him pointers, he also gave him a post as a squad jarl.
When Locke called George over, he was very surprised. Only then did he know that there was someone who started practising impetus before reaching the level of a platoon jarl.
Locke, a low-rank Knecht, could sense that George had the strength of a peak level Knecht despite being only slightly older than him. This was a man at the same level as Yoshk, but much younger.
Riding on his war horse, Locke told George to call his men to follow him. He intended to walk around a bit and make himself seen so that the others would know he was with the cavalry platoon tonight.
He still couldn't believe that Glace and Kristin were the direct descendants of House Felippe. He made up his mind to never tell a soul about it.
Locke rode around in the area blockaded by their battalion. From time to time, he spoke to the Faustian soldiers in the neighbouring blockade. Next to them was a platoon from Lion. After the city fell, the units were jumbled. Now, almost every unit had soldiers from different corps.
As he patrolled, Locke couldn't help but ask about the identity of George walking next to him. Despite having served as the platoon jarl of the cavalry platoon for more than half a month, he didn't even know that there was such a figure serving under him. It was really a dereliction of duty. Although there was also a reason that George, as Wyr's confidant, didn't walk around much in front of Locke.
"You are the son of old butler John?" Locke asked, sounding surprised.
"Yes, Herr," George answered calmly.
No wonder. John had always had a weak presence. After Locke became a low-rank Knecht, he also discovered that John was at the same level as himself. It was nothing odd for the son to know impetus too with a low-rank Knecht father.
It seems like this kid is quite talented, Locke thought. If he didn't have the support of the redsea flowers and two strengthening potions, he wouldn't be able to become a low-rank Knecht at such a young age.
"I also heard that you have a good relationship with my younger brother," George said, to Locke's surprise.
"Your younger brother? Who?" Locke was very curious. There were many soldiers who were close to him at Cardoj's camp. He couldn't guess who George referred to.
"Wharna," George said.
"What? It's him!" Locke didn't expect it to be Wharna. Locke did have a good relationship with him because he often had to send money to his family and the families of the rest of the squad, so they had quite a lot of interactions.
However, ever since Locke was promoted to platoon jarl and participated in the siege of Farlans, he hadn't seen him much, and he didn't know where the kid had been transferred to. He heard that he was now working in the baron's transport team.
"Talk about low profile!" Locke said with a smile. With Wharna's relationship with Locke in mind, the two got along far better. They had many things in common, whether it be their impetus training, Locke's strength as a low-rank Knecht, or the position and duties of a platoon jarl.