One could tell that these Aomar's representatives, who were escorted by an Erdritter, were very important people.
The small kingdoms in the south-central region of the mainland, such as Faustian, Karaman, Gondor, and the other kingdoms from faraway only had peak-level Ritters as the most powerful people in their kingdom. Only Aigle, in the far west, had a level-two Erdritter. Ritters were the cornerstones of a nation, but Erdritters were worshipped by all.
The combat power of an Erdritter was much stronger than that of a Magister. As stage-two lifeforms, Erdritters could already look down on the Magisters who were still stage-one lifeforms.
The Erdritter escort caused the other nations to notice Aomar's favouritism towards Faustian. No kingdom would choose to be Faustian's enemy at this moment.
Jose, the fence-sitter, was the first to withdraw from Faustian's southwest border, followed by Ligia Union and Gondor. Finally, Karaman only retreated reluctantly after getting a piece of worthless land in the northern region of Shalor.
Karaman was very similar to Shalor as they both possessed very powerful spells. But Karaman's spellcasters weren't called casters, but wizards instead. Karaman had two stage-one wizards.
Everyone thought that it was the Erdritter who'd deterred the other nations and prevented Faustian from having another war. But was it really true?
Garcia, the Erdritter who accompanied the representatives, didn't think so. She was one of the inquisitors from the Aomarian Imperial Enforcers.
"Congratulations, Herr Romm!" Not only was Garcia was good looking, the scarcity of female knights in general caused most men to rate her highly.
"Long time no see, Garcia!" Romm stepped forward and greeted her. Although they hadn't been in much contact before this, he happened to be in the same unit as her in the last planar. They were old acquaintances.
Garcia took her helmet off, flipped her reddish-brown hair, and sat casually on the sofa. They were in the lounge of the Faustian palace. Since the Faustian king hadn't arrived yet, Romm and Garcia used the time to catch up.
To be honest, though Garcia was just decent looking at best, she'd captured Romm's heart. Every knight hoped to find a suitable partner. Romm, who'd been promoted to an Erdritter, had to find a knight at his own level to have a better chance of propagating his bloodline.
While Ritters could get married to common folk and have offspring, it was absolutely impossible for Erdritters. The nature of their being was so different that they couldn't be considered humans anymore. When an Erdritter attacked with full force, they were no different from major monsters.
Garcia wasn't interested in Romm's advances. She had already met lots of men who tried to hit on her over the last couple centuries. The 198-year-old Romm was too young for the 456-year-old Garcia, so she hadn't really considered him.
Romm also noticed that she was annoyed, so he stopped making small talk and took this opportunity to ask her about some things about the Erdritter stage.
The king arrived at the right time and the two knights stopped their conversation. Garcia stood up and greeted the king. Although she was a stage-two lifeform that stood at the peak of all life, she still had to abide by customs and norms. The king had equal status as her.
Her main purpose at Faustian this time around was to settle some matters on behalf of Aomar. Faustian had defeated Shalor and its territory had doubled. It was impossible for Faustian to not make any concessions and share some land with Aomar. Thus began the tense negotiations between the two elites.
He was indeed the capable king who managed to destroy Shalor. Garcia had seen countless kings over the past hundreds of years, and the one before her was in her top ten list. He'd argued logically and reasonably and was able to stand his ground despite facing the pressure of an Erdritter. She really admired his courage.
"Morphey Forest's magic core exports can be increased by another third, but the tribute needs to be reduced by twenty percent in fifty years!" The king wasn't senile at all. His white hair made him look even more assertive and domineering.
"Okay," Garcia agreed reluctantly after giving some thought about it for a while.
Aomar had more than a million territories, so they weren't interested in Shalor's small territory at all. The only thing that attracted them was Morphey Forest, which had an abundance of magic plants, crystal cores and major monsters. They were all in short supply in Aomar.
"But I need you, Frau Garcia, to go to Morphey Forest with me," said Romm.
"Why? You still can't handle that scorpiondrake alone?" Garcia turned and looked at Romm while smiling at him playfully.
"Of course not. But it'll behave itself if you come with me," explained Romm.
"Alright. It's on my way back anyway," replied Garcia.
"Thank you so much," said Romm happily.
"By the way, I have one more thing to report, Your Majesty," said Garcia in a relaxed tone.
"What is it?" The king was very puzzled. They'd already discussed what they were supposed to. Was there anything else that she wanted to add?
"On behalf of the Imperial Royal Academy, I would like to invite Princess Angelina to sign up at the caster faculty February next year," said Garcia.
The king's facial expression changed abruptly.
The heatwave in June didn't bring Locke down; he just got a little tanned. It had been more than three months since the day he returned home. If it wasn't for the armour that hung by the side of his bed which reminded him that he was a knight, Locke would be convinced that he had spent his nineteen years in the fields.
As a low-rank Knecht, not only did Locke finish his family's farm work within half a month, he'd also helped out in a lot of families' farms. Land shouldn't be wasted even though there was a shortage of labour, otherwise, the villagers would have a hard time in the second half of the year. That was especially the case for those families whose sons and husbands had died at the frontlines.
June was a busy month. But before Locke could take a breather, he suddenly received an order from the royal capital. It appeared that he had to head to the royal capital immediately. Locke crumpled the transfer order on it with a puzzled look on his face.
Could it be that Angelina was looking for him? This was the only reasonable explanation as he was the only soldier in Cardoj's domain to receive such an order.
He had visited Suzanne and the others almost every week in the past few months. Although he often thought about Angelina, the difference in their status made him feel like it wasn't meant to be.
The transfer order was issued in the name of Falcon's headquarters. After bidding farewell to his parents, sister, Suzanne, Glace and the others, he immediately rode to the royal capital.
It was a smooth journey for Locke as he passed through the courier stations and strongholds that were set up by Falcon across the country. He arrived at Felor in just two days' time. As soon as he'd arrived, he was immediately escorted away by a well-equipped and secretive unit.
Locke felt that this group of black-clad soldiers seemed familiar. After some thought, he thought of the blood-red troops that he encountered in the Bering Mountains. The vibe that this group gave off was very similar to the blood-red soldiers'.
They didn't make things difficult for Locke, instead inviting him kindly into a carriage. The road along the way was bumpy and Locke didn't know where he was being brought to. Two days later, he was certain that he had not been kidnapped after he saw Angelina.
"Where are we going?" asked Locke.
The carriage that Angelina was in right now was completely different from the one that Locke came in. It wouldn't even be an exaggeration to say that it was a moving palace. The carriage was approximately a hundred square metres wide with a living room and sofas too. There were even several maids and guards in the four corners of the room.
"We're going to Morphey Forest." After taking a sip of tea, Angelina asked the people around her to leave.
Locke and Angelina only loosened up when all of them left. They hadn't seen each other for several months. Locke missed Angelina a lot, but she missed him even more.
Angelina, who was only seventeen, had already given half of her heart to Locke. The other half was shared between her father and brother.
"The ones who'd brought you here are the shadow guards." Angelina leaned in on Locke's shoulder.
Locke had heard of the shadow guards before, but he'd never seen them before. He was surprised when he first met them because he could sense that there were three of them whose strengths were comparable to his, and they were just one squad.
"I was the one who requested for us to go there. I'll bring you to meet Morphey Forest's overlord and you can broaden your horizons," said Angelina cheekily.
Locke roughly knew what was going on after hearing what she'd said.
Morphey Forest was famous in the neighbouring nations. It had all sorts of major monsters. Like a human kingdom, there was also a hierarchy among major monsters. Unlike humans who based it on nobility, the hierarchy of major monsters was based on nothing but strength.
The overlord of the major monsters were crystal scorpiondrakes, also known as the Akanasd. They ruled all of the monsters in Morphey Forest.
A scorpiondrake's strength corresponded to that of a level-one Ritter thanks to its hard scales and poisonous spikes. Most importantly, there were two scorpiondrakes -- a male one and a female one.
This was also the reason Romm didn't want to face them alone. He was an Erdritter, so he would definitely win in a fight against them. But he'd just broken through and didn't want to be involved in a pointless battle.
They just wanted to explore the treasure box that was Morphey Forest, so there was no need to kill the scorpiondrakes. All they had to do was negotiate with them. After all, major monsters were considered as intelligent creatures that could speak the human tongue.