The convoy of hundreds of people travelled slowly along the road. It wasn't exactly a large highway; it was a small path that probably was created as a result of frequent animal traffic across the area. There were shrubs and bushes nearby on which violet berries grew.
A seemingly endless chain of mountains could be seen in the distance, with a few wild geese hovering above the mountain streams.
Locke, all armoured up, dismounted and kicked the mud off from the bottom of his boots. He then bent down, picked a berry from the side of the road, rubbed it with his sleeve, and popped it into his mouth. Though, it was so sour that he spat it out right away.
"Where are we now, Bond?" Locke beckoned to his adjutant.
Bond ran towards Locke and took out the map that he held under his armpit. He spread out the map with one hand and gestured with the other while saying, "We'll be out of Melmos Forest in half a day's time."
Locke nodded to indicate that he understood. He then mounted on his horse and headed towards a carriage at the centre of the convoy.
"Will we be out of this forest soon?" Angelina laid down on a red cushion in the delicate carriage as she flipped through a thick book lazily.
"Yes!" Locke glanced at Angelina's neck with temptation, but he then quickly turned and looked elsewhere. He knew who was currently in the convoy, so he didn't dare to be presumptuous.
After chatting with Angelina for a while, Locke left her to her reading and went to the back of the convoy.
Glace and the others sat in two separate carriages. Suzanne and Laffey were in one carriage, whereas Glace and Kristin were in the other. When Suzanne saw Locke, she hugged his neck happily through the carriage's window and gave him a kiss.
"Be careful, don't injure yourself!" Locke leaned over as he got a big lipstick kiss print on his face.
Locke was on the horse and Suzanne was in the carriage, and yet both of them still managed such a complex manoeuvre. It wasn't because the coachman was particularly good; the fluidity of their kiss was thanks to all the practice they had.
"I've missed you!" Suzanne said while blushing.
Locke smirked and said, "Didn't I just feed you last night?"
Suzanne punched him.
Laffey looked at the lovebirds' public display of affection weirdly and coughed. Suzanne then went back through the window and toned the flirting down a notch, though she still kept looking at Locke.
Locke looked at Laffey, who was also in armour, and asked, "Why are you still wearing armour in the carriage? Aren't you hot?"
"It's none of your business!" Laffey turned away from Locke. Although she knew that Glace was head over heels for him, she still treated him harshly even though she was only a maid.
Locke just ignored her. Though he had to admit she looked rather valiant and heroic in that armour. It was a treat for his eyes indeed. After spending some time with Suzanne, Locke finally went to another carriage as Laffey glared at him.
"Big brother!" Kristin had already noticed Locke a long time ago, but he stayed at Suzanne's carriage for a very long time, and it'd made her cursed multiple times under her breath that all Suzanne knew to do was to seduce her brother.
Kristin and Suzanne always had a good relationship with each other, but it depended on the situation. Kristin wouldn't share Locke with anyone else except for her aunt. She wanted to lean out of the window and hug him like how Suzanne did, but that immediately freaked Locke and Glace out.
"Be careful! You'll fall!" Glace immediately grabbed her and slapped her head.
Kristin pouted disappointedly. She just wanted a hug from him. Locke had no choice but to stretch his arms out. The little girl hugged him happily and he lifted her out through the window.
Kristin was too small and skinny. Though already fourteen, she was still quite petite. Anyone would believe her if she claimed to be ten.
"Am I hurting you?" asked Locke concernedly. Although he wasn't wearing full-body armour, there were still some rather sharp parts jutting out.
"No!" Kristin sat on his shoulders as she waved her hands and played around. She had been bored to death from being in the carriage for several days straight.
While Kristin was playing around, Locke winked at Glace and said, "I'll come and find you tonight!" This was their secret code. Glace immediately knew what he meant when she saw his facial expression.
"No way, Kristin is still here!" Glace shook her head and refused, but Locke didn't give her the opportunity to object as he turned around immediately and brought Kristin with him to the back of the convoy.
"What did my aunt say just now?" asked Kristin curiously. She was busy playing just now, so she didn't hear anything.
"Your aunt said that you should eat more. You're so light!" said Locke as he moved his arms around playfully. Kristin giggled and hugged him tightly.
After playing around for almost the whole day, Kristin's face was deliciously red like an apple. "It's not my fault that I'm skinny!" she said, panting.
She admired Suzanne's figure a lot and she would compare her own with hers whenever she showered. She hated that the part of her body wasn't growing any flesh where it was supposed to.
Glace's bosom was also huge, and Kristin had asked her before on how she could achieve the same, but Glace only responded to her question with a slap.
Kristin laid on Locke's shoulder like a cat with her face flushed, her arms still around him. She then kissed his neck when he wasn't paying attention and Locke just pretended that he didn't notice it.
Locke went to Lia's carriage after that. She was doing embroidery inside, something she'd just learned not long ago. The nobles' wives taught her embroidery when they went to visit Locke in the royal capital.
Faustian noblewomen, especially those who lived in the royal capital, liked exquisite clothes and handkerchiefs a lot. They could flaunt the handkerchiefs or silk ribbons that they made by themselves for several weeks.
"Don't prick your hands again," said Locke. He'd already reminded her to be careful several times before, but she ignored him. A needle poked into her index finger when the carriage rolled over a rock the day before yesterday, and it wouldn't stop bleeding. Since his sister wouldn't listen, Locke could only scold the coachman harshly and replaced him with a more skilful and experienced coachman.
"Okay." Lia was surprisingly obedient this time because she recalled how her brother stopped her finger from bleeding at that time--Locke sucked on her finger for a long time before letting go, and it'd made her blush.
"Why don't you go and check up on your girlfriends?" Lia put down the embroidery and looked at the scenery outside.
"Uh." Locke was speechless. He knew that this would happen when he brought Glace and the others along in this convoy. He thought that Angelina would be making a fuss about it, but she didn't mind it at all. Instead, it'd made his sister upset.
Lia stopped talking when he didn't reply. "Come here, Kristin, I'll give you a hug!" said Lia to Kristin who was still hanging onto Locke.
Lia, like most girls, liked Kristin very much the moment she met her. Kristin had also become close with her in the past two days, and she would go to Lia's carriage when she had nothing to do.
"No, I want to hug Locke!" Kristin's immediate refusal made Locke and Lia laugh uncontrollably.
The convoy left Melmos Forest before the sky turned dark.
"We don't have to worry about the Karamans spying on us anymore now." Bond let out a huge sigh of relief.
"Don't let your guard down. We haven't left the border yet!" said Locke as he patted Bond's shoulder.
It'd been half a month since they departed from Felor. Ever since they entered Karaman a week ago, Locke and the others had always felt like they were being monitored.
But since Locke knew that there was a big shot in the convoy, he wasn't all too worried. He just made sure to hasten the convoy's pace and led them out of Karaman.
Melmon Forest was the last landmark before they would leave Karaman. A little further, and they would be out of Karaman's border into the next kingdom on their route.