The chaos and plundering in Audis only lasted for a week before the prince ordered for them to stop.
The major divisions retreated from the city in an orderly manner, leaving only two divisions from Lion behind.
The soldiers who evacuated didn't go too far. They set up an encampment at their assigned stations.
The spoils that Locke and Wyr had obtained in the past few days amounted to a lot. It had made their comrades from other platoons very envious when they saw the boxes of Shalor's jewellery on the horses' backs.
"Brother, where did you get all of these from?" asked someone to the cavalrymen curiously. The soldiers didn't reply but just rolled their eyes at him.
The cavalry platoon had a lot of horses, which was why Locke and Wyr could ransack the homes of dozens of Shalorian nobles unscrupulously.
Yes, dozens of homes. They were all the homes of baronets and beginner Knechts, who didn't have soldiers nor enough protection. These nobles were the biggest pieces of the pie.
Both of the platoon jarls had overindulged themselves in these nobles; they were so bloated that they almost choked themselves to death.
The soldiers under a Faustian viscount had ransacked a few noble homes but didn't get as much as they thought they would. They then harboured ill intentions after seeing how much Locke and the others had gained from their harvest.
They sent soldiers from three platoons to surround Locke's platoon and would only let them leave if they put two-thirds of their gains down.
Fortunately, it all became a 'misunderstanding' after Locke revealed his identity and Wyr flexed his muscles.
The name 'Locke' was very common in Faustian and there were hundreds of people with this name. The ordinary soldiers might not react to his name, but the viscount was definitely in the know.
"You're Locke, the one who rescued the princess. I respect you." The viscount smiled awkwardly.
At the other side, Wyr also 'unintentionally' unleashed his aura of a high-rank Knecht. Such Knechts were very rare in the Faustian military. Locke only knew of Wyr and George.
Speaking of the name 'George', Locke felt that the world was really small. He actually knew two people named George. One of them was the division jarl of 2nd Division, and the other was Wharna's brother whom he'd just met two days ago.
Of course, only their first name was the same. The former was a count and had his own surname, while the latter was a commoner like Locke. Commoners didn't have surnames.
Wyr's strength had terrified the viscount. Though he wasn't afraid of Wyr's personal might, he didn't want to cause trouble. High-rank Knechts were already considered to be the strongest in combat in the Faustian army, so there was no need to offend these powerful men for the sake of some fortune.
The ordinary soldiers from the cavalry platoon were the ones who let out a sigh of relief after this incident.
They were about to fight their own comrades who were trying to rob them. They didn't expect that their platoon jarls would be there at the right time to help them resolve the conflict.
Those who were assigned to the cavalry platoon by Cardoj were bolder than the soldiers from other platoons. When they encountered robberies like this, the first thought that came into their minds was to start a fight even though their enemies had more men than them.
All that incident did was tighten their bonds. If one of the soldiers chickened out, all of the soldiers would do so too. The soldiers were emboldened by having two powerful superiors.
When all of the soldiers returned to the camp that outside the city, Locke and his platoon finally showed up at 2nd Division.
The wooden boxes and sacks that could be stacked into dozens of metres high were all filled with valuables such as Shalorian gold and silver coins, handicrafts and antiques. Every soldier who passed by Cardoj's camp would take a look at it. Even soldiers from other divisions came to check the commotion out.
The baron's caravan spent two days to calculate the overall earnings they'd gotten. Each soldier from the cavalry platoon could get approximately a hundred silver thalers and the squad jarls could get a thousand. Wyr and Locke, who were the highest-ranking officers, could get at least 500 gold thalers.
This was even after they'd handed one-third of their goods to Cardoj. Ordinary second-rate soldiers could only earn four silver thalers a month. This was probably the biggest gain they'd ever gotten across all these years. Everyone from the cavalry platoon was stuffed, and it'd made other soldiers very envious.
"Both of you have the limelight this time!" It was rare for Cardoj to crack a joke at the dinner table. Cardoj, Locke and the other platoon jarls were dining together again. This was a custom of their unit.
Locke only gave a dry laugh in response to the baron and the others who were looking at him. Meanwhile, Wyr was concentrating on dealing with his steak.
Cardoj was really happy with the gains that Locke and Wyr brought back. Their gains alone were the sum of what all the other platoons had gotten.
These gains were Cardoj's capital to revitalise his unit. The more his soldiers seized, the better off he ended up.
Putting handing over one-third of their goods aside, the goods that Locke and the others had plundered were mostly antiques and handicrafts. The gold and silver were also in Shalorian currency, so they wouldn't be able to use them in Faustian.
Therefore, these things had to go through the baron's hands in the end. The profit from this was much more than what ordinary soldiers could earn after plundering for the whole day.
"Come! Let's raise a toast to the end of the war!" The baron raised his glass and the platoon jarls around him stood up one after another. They emptied their wine glasses in one gulp.
Alcohol was forbidden in the camp. They'd gotten these wines from digging out the cellar of a baronet's house; there was a lot of good wine in there.
Locke couldn't taste any difference, but he didn't really like the sweetness of it. "This is not as good as the wine Suzanne made," muttered Locke.
Other than the three platoon jarls, there were also two men from the mercenary platoon there. Locke liked to make new friends. He'd even toasted the two men a glass of wine during the dinner.
The bearded leader of the mercenary platoon was a frank and forthright person. He started blabbering loudly after he got drunk, unlike the regular soldiers.
After two or three glasses of wine, the bearded man pulled Locke towards him and addressed him as his brother. Even though Cardoj was still in the tent, he still told Locke some interesting stories about his experiences in other countries.
This was exactly what Locke wanted to hear from him. After a while, they started putting their arms around each other's shoulders, as if they were old friends who hadn't seen each other for more than ten years.
Cardoj was also broad minded. He knew that these platoon jarls couldn't enjoy themselves to the fullest if he was there, so he left after he was done eating. If there wasn't enough food, Corey would make more.
As soon as Cardoj left, the group of platoon jarls immediately got together and were laughing and talking to each other. Surprisingly, Wyr, who usually didn't converse with these platoon jarls, was also chatting with Mond.
Locke noticed that Solon came by during the dinner, but he left after greeting a few platoon jarls. He figured that his friendship with Solon had probably ended.
If he hadn't used him and Angelina as decoys to escape himself, perhaps they would've become very good friends.
But it was just a hypothetical. Locke stopped thinking about this worrisome matter and continued listening to the bearded man's hoarse voice. He told Locke about his encounters when he carried out his missions in Karaman and Ligia Union.
The gripping tales caused images of cunning robbers and fierce minor monsters to run wild in Locke's mind.
Locke had seen minor monsters before, and he'd even killed one major monster. He could tell from the bearded man's stories that his experiences were the real deal, so he listened very attentively.
Of course, Locke wasn't interested in listening to the stories of how many robbers he'd killed. Locke had the blood of dozens of Shalorian soldiers on his hands; killing robbers didn't mean anything to a regular soldier like him.
Locke ended up drunk and didn't know how he'd gone back to his tent. When he opened his eyes in the morning, he suffered from a splitting headache. After he'd finally felt a little better, he saw Suzanne, who was still sleeping peacefully next to him.
The wine wasn't strong, but it had large after-effects. Locke felt that the wine he drank last night was tasteless, so he drank it as if he was drinking water. He didn't know how many bottles of wine he'd drunk in the end. The consequence of this was that he became completely unconscious when the alcohol hit him.
Based on Locke's current physique, he should usually be fine no matter how much wine he consumed. But the problem was he had fine wine that had been kept underground by the owner for who-knew-how-long.
He was also not a frequent drinker, so he would get very drunk if he didn't pay attention. If he was conscious enough at that time to circulate impetus through his body, he wouldn't be so uncomfortable when he woke up this morning.
Locke got out of bed quietly without disturbing Suzanne. He then donned his armour and went outside to practise his punches.
Last night, Cardoj gave all the soldiers in his unit a leave and everyone partied hard. No soldiers could be seen in the camp right now except for the few who were on duty.
Locke took a deep breath. He was ready for a new day.
In the second week after Audis' destruction, it started snowing. This time, it was different from before. The amount of snowfall was almost the same as when Locke was in the Bering Mountains. The snow had nearly reached his knees and it would form a deep pit if he stepped on it.
Luckily, it only started snowing today. Otherwise, they might not be able to capture Audis if it had been snowing heavily two weeks ago.
"Returning home?" Cardoj looked at the herald that was standing in front of him in surprise.
"Yes! Lord Baron, this approval is given by the margrave himself," said the herald.
"Can you tell me what's going on?" Cardoj couldn't figure out the situation. He then gave the herald a bag of gold coins secretly.
The herald weighed the bag and put it into his pocket calmly. Smiling, he replied, "I heard that this is the princess' order."
Cardoj understood. He then sent the herald off.
He wouldn't bother that much if he was a herald from the corps' headquarters. It was different from the department of the military as it wasn't easy for people to triumph there. Although Cardoj was a baron, he was insignificant compared to the elites.
Regarding the distribution spoils, the protocol had already been roughly determined in the past two weeks. After returning to their country, it still had to go through the king, the noble council and the House of Lords for a second or even third breakdown.
With De Sandro's guarantee, Cardoj was certain that his noble rank would be raised one level higher. Perhaps he would be Viscount Cardoj by this time next year. For now, it was a good thing that Kenzir had allowed them to return home.
After being away from home for six years, even this baron, who lived an extravagant lifestyle missed his home a lot, let alone the ordinary soldiers.