When Locke was back at the inn, his hands were full of gift boxes. Barton and Sverre helped to carry some of them as well. They saw how Melson treated Locke. Although they weren't sure how Locke knew the big shot, they couldn't stop admiring him.
"I think I should address you as my elder brother," said Barton. Though, he was a few months older than Locke.
Melson was very generous. The quality of the necklaces that he'd given to Locke was comparable to the ones in Kristin's spatial ring and each of them was worth more than 50 gold thalers. It was unbelievable that he could give away ten of those necklaces in one go without batting an eye.
He gave Barton and Sverre two of those necklaces and kept four of them for Glace and the others. Of course, he'd kept one for Angelina and the remaining three were for his mother and sister.
Locke Senior and Tia had brought along their daughter to shop around Felor in the past few days. Locke had given them a lot of silver thalers, but Locke Senior wasn't a person who liked to spend money and Tia was a thrifty person, so there were still a lot of silver thalers left in their wallets.
Though, they bought a lot of affordable and delicious snacks for the soldiers and servants. Everyone liked them. Locke Senior and Tia were friendly old folks in their eyes.
When they saw the precious necklaces that Locke brought back, Tia wanted to scold him for squandering. But when she saw the beautiful emerald, she swallowed her words. Women were still very fond of beautiful things no matter their age. It was almost as if this was their nature.
Tia had never seen such a gorgeous necklace like this in her entire life. The most precious jewellery that she owned before this was the silver ring that Locke had bought for her. When Locke Senior married her back then, her betrothal gift was only two sheep and a copper ring.
Tia still wore the copper ring on her hand. The ring that was originally bright yellow had now turned bright red, and the intricate patterns on it were all worn out. But she would always wear this ring as it was the sole proof of their marriage.
Locke Senior was smoking the tobacco pipe that Locke had bought for him. He was proud of his son's success.
"Let me put it on for you!" Locke Senior put down his pipe and ran over. "The emerald necklace suits you," said Locke Senior as he took it out.
Tia raised her head and smiled. She sat quietly on the chair and waited for Locke Senior to put it on for her.
Locke wanted to do the same for his sister, but Lia had already put it on by herself. Lia chose a blue gemstone necklace. The gemstone looked beautiful on her fair skin.
"How do I look?" asked Lia nervously. It was her first time wearing such expensive jewellery.
"It's... it's pretty!" Locke was tongue-tied. Although he'd met Angelina and Glace, he still thought that his sister was the most beautiful woman.
There was a golden necklace left in the gift box. "Lia can have the last one," said Tia.
Three days later, the entitlement ceremony began. Locke put on his ceremonial outfit early in the morning. The attire was specially tailored for knights and it had a sword in a scabbard on the right side of it. The boots were made from black leathered; they were durable and didn't seem too eye-catching.
Coupled with the slanted hat on his head, Locke looked more like a noble knight rather than a soldier. This outfit had been picked out by Glace. The others were surprised when they saw Locke.
"Nice outfit. Where did you get it from?" asked Barton curiously.
The attendants from the palace were already waiting outside the inn. They were also the ones who informed Locke about the announcement that he was going to be knighted.
Locke followed the attendants and walked into the palace cautiously with a group of army officers.
They were all commoners who were about to be created nobles in this ceremony due to the outstanding contributions they'd made on the battlefield.
Through small talk, Locke found out that most of the people in this group were going to be knighted, and only a few of them were going to be appointed as baronets. All of them had made significant contributions in battle.
Locke knew his own strength and capabilities clearly. If it wasn't for him just happening to rescue Angelina, he would never have been knighted. So, he desperately made friends with his colleagues who were also about to be knighted.
There were about twenty or thirty officers there. As newly-promoted nobles, they had a weak foundation, so it was crucial for them to make friends and build relationships during this period. Plus, they were all from the army, so everyone behaved quite casually and conversed with one another.
"Quiet!" The noise was getting louder, and the leader in the group of attendants who walked at the front yelled.
Suddenly, everyone fell silent. Everyone lowered their heads like quails, including Locke. They weren't knights yet, so they still had to be humble and obey orders.
The leader was a high-rank Knecht, and the display of his power made them tremble. The palace was indeed a place that was full of talented or extraordinary people.
Locke and these officers usually wouldn't comply so easily unless they were more powerful than them.
"Our palace is much more magnificent than Shalor's," whispered a bearded officer as he tilted his head.
"How could you tell?" whispered the person next to him.
"I was the one who led the troops on the attack from the side entrance of Shalor's palace. Although the walls of their palace were imposing, they aren't as tall as ours," said the officer.
Locke didn't participate in the battle in Audis' palace as he was in the local nobles' private army. He listened attentively when the person started telling his story.
The attendants ignored the whispers of the group of people behind them. They wouldn't care about it as long as they weren't being too loud. After all, they were just servants, not nobles.
Locke had just heard that Faustian's palace hall was more magnificent than Shalor's, but there were fewer palaces in Faustian, and not all were as gorgeous as their Shalorian counterparts.
After walking for half an hour, the group of people waited outside the main hall. It was just dawn. There was only a unit of guards patrolling outside the palace and only a few servants nearby.
As time passed, more and more people gathered outside the hall. All the nobles walked into the hall with their heads held up high.
Locke, who had been standing like a wooden stake for almost the whole morning, scanned his surroundings. He didn't recognise anyone there. He figured that there were about a hundred and forty nobles in the hall right now.
The wait was long and painful. Locke realised that almost all of the officers there were at least a low-rank Knecht, so it wasn't tiring for them at all. They wouldn't even complain about it if they had to stand for a whole day.
In the hall, the Faustian king walked up to the throne with the help of the servants. Queen Kate and Kenzir, who'd just returned from the frontlines, sat on both sides of the king.
Three of the four kingdom's margraves stood in front of all of the nobles below. The newly appointed margrave, Woode, was still on duty in Shalor at this moment.
Hundreds of Faustian nobles stood below, all of whom were going to be rewarded in today's ceremony. Cardoj was also among them, but his position was relatively remote. He was at the southwest corner of the hall.
If one looked closely, they would find that the nobles' positions were assigned intentionally to segment off some from the others. De Sandro was in front of Cardoj. The other nobles also had their own backers.
Many nobles stood at both sides of the hall as well. They were Kate and Kenzir's loyal followers. Most of the nobles who supported Kate were in the business and economic fields, whereas Kenzir's supporters served in the army, and they were mostly young men.
"So, we're here today to for the entitlement and promotion of meritorious soldiers!" The king didn't seem like his age. His words were still loud and clear.
Actually, they'd already discussed what they should have discussed long ago. The members of the noble council and the House of Lords had already gotten their spoils and were satisfied with them. Of course, there would naturally be some corrupt ones among them, but these issues usually sorted themselves out.
Every noble stepped forward to listen to the king's announcement. They would either receive a promotion in their rank or a large territory or an abundance of gold, silver and other treasures. Quite a number of Faustian nobles were looking forward to Shalor's vast land and resources.