Locke yawned as he stretched his back. After some cracking sounds were heard from his body, he felt much better.
It was an exciting night for him, but Glace gave him the attitude and he was eventually too ashamed to share a carriage with two women. So, he went out, found a rock that was half as wide as a person, and laid on it for the rest of the night. As a low-rank Knecht, he wasn't afraid of catching a cold overnight, but it was quite uncomfortable for him to lay down on the rock.
Smoke from cooking fires spiralled up from the camp early in the morning. Locke took his meal and brought along the meals for his sister, Glace and the others. Glace seemed to be really angry at him, so he had to coax and comfort her.
When he went to Glace's carriage, sure enough, she was still mad at him. She just took her breakfast and closed the carriage's door without saying a word. Locke peeked through the gap between the closed door and the carriage, and he saw that Kristin was looking at him shyly. He blushed as he coughed lightly and went to deliver the meals to Suzanne and the others.
As the view of Melmos Forest gradually disappeared from everyone's sight, the feeling of being monitored gradually faded as well.
"Karaman's wizards finally stopped monitoring us." A caster in a blue hooded cloak who stood at the back of the group sighed.
Locke happened to be nearby as he heard those words. What were wizards? Were they the same as casters? Although he was curious, he didn't ask about it. He only knew that this caster was named Nolan and he was rather eccentric and unsociable, so Locke never had the chance to get familiar with him.
As the convoy continued on their journey, the scenery around them gradually changed. The dense jungle became sparser, and the weeds by the roadside were shorter. Eventually, they were walking on bare soil.
"Have we arrived in the next country?" asked Locke to the adjutant as he wiped off the sweat on his forehead.
Karaman was famous for its jungles and grasslands. There weren't any deserts in Karaman, so they must've arrived crossed to the next country.
Bond took out the map and looked at it for a while. "Yes, we've already arrived in the Kingdom of Ridson. We'll have to cross the Ridson Desert next."
Locke was speechless when he heard that. Great, he had to cross a desert.
"There should be an oasis ahead," said Bond, pointing at the map.
"Alright, we'll continue ahead and rest when we arrive at the oasis," ordered Locke.
Angelina and Cage were sitting quietly in Romm's carriage. "I won't be following you all for the rest of the journey," said Romm.
His mission was to just escort Angelina through Karaman. Now that they were already far away from Karaman's border, there was no point for him to be there anymore. He needed to be on duty in Faustian.
"Okay," replied Angelina. She had the most authority in the entire convoy aside from Romm.
"You must protect Angelina at all costs for the rest of the journey," Romm said to Cage sternly.
"Yes! I'll never let anyone harm a hair on the princess' head!" he promised, straightening his back.
Only Romm and Angelina knew that Cage was the most powerful in the entire convoy. There weren't more than five peak-level Knechts in the whole of Faustian.
If Cage got close to the powerful Nolan, Nolan would also get killed in a second before he could even open his magic shield.
Casters were only terrifying when they attacked from a far distance. They wouldn't normally pick a close distance fight with the knights.
Romm informed Cage about the important matters that he should pay attention to. He waited for Cage to leave, only then he said to Angelina, "Keep these scales properly." Romm didn't move a muscle, but a bunch of purple scales suddenly appeared on the ground. Romm also owned top-grade spatial gears. His carriage was actually a very valuable spatial item.
"Okay." Angelina held up the black pearl that was hanging on her neck and pointed it towards the purple scales. The scales were then kept inside the black pearl, one of Faustian's national treasures specially made for Angelina.
Angelina also had a spatial ring on her finger. It was a farewell gift from her mentor, Crimea. But of course, its storage capacity wasn't as much as the black pearl's. The total volume of more than two hundred scales from a high-ranked major monster could definitely not fit in the small spatial ring.
After she kept the scales, Romm continued, "There are a total of two hundred and ten pieces. Two hundred pieces are for Garcia and you can keep the rest of them. They're very helpful for hatching the scorpiondrake."
"Thank you, Grandpa Romm!" Angelina bowed to him. He'd probably gotten these from Adamrys by himself.
"Have a safe journey." Romm seemed to be very optimistic about her growth.
A few hours later, Locke stood beside Angelina as he watched Romm fly towards Faustian until he disappeared in the sky.
"I really envy people who can fly." Locke sighed.
"Well, you can do it too if you've advanced to a Ritter!" said Angelina playfully.
Locke didn't know what to reply. Ritter? He wasn't even a mid-rank Knecht yet.
Angelina seemed to have guessed what Locke was thinking. She waved her hand and said, "Don't worry. When I advance to become a high-rank Lehrling and learn Flight, I'll bring you along with me!"
Locke wrinkled his nose and didn't take her words seriously. She was just a beginner-rank Lehrling now and she wasn't any better than him.
Ridson Desert really lived up to its name. This was their third day in the desert. They had passed by a few oases at the beginning, but they eventually stopped seeing other living creatures altogether as they walked further into the desert. Luckily, their guides were experienced and they had instructed everyone to bring a large amount of water with them beforehand.
Locke gnawed on a roasted lizard under the scorching sun. The lizard that had the size of an arm was lying on the ground while cooling itself off when it was discovered by the soldiers. The soldiers didn't even grill it. They just stripped its skin off, rolled it in the sand, washed it with water to remove the sand and the blood on its body and ate it directly. There was still some blood on its body, but Locke didn't mind it as he savoured it.
"Locke, where's the next oasis?" Kristin was wearing a straw hat. Her petite face didn't get tanned under the hot sun, it was slightly pale with droplets of sweat streaming down her face instead.
Locke threw away the rest of the lizard when he was done eating. He rubbed his hands and lifted Kristin up. She'd suffered a lot in the past few days. At least she would've had warm clothes and a campfire if she was cold, but there was no helping such hot weather. It was impossible for Locke to produce wind and iced water out of thin air.
He'd taken his armour off a long time ago. It would be equivalent to self-immolation if he was still wearing the chain mail at this moment.
Speaking of it, it had almost been a week since they entered the Kingdom of Ridson's borders, but they hadn't seen a person until now. Logically speaking, if a group of hundreds of people had entered a country's territory, they should send someone or at least a few scouts over to see what was the matter as soon as possible.
After discussing with a few jarls in the mission, Locke realised that they had already sent someone over. Locke used his palm to block the sunlight from entering his eyes as he raised his head and looked at the sky. Several birds that seemed like vultures and eagles were hovering above their convoy in the sky.
Ridson was a tribal kingdom that lived by pasturing and herding. Its population was mainly active in the eastern part of the kingdom because there were many oases and grasslands there. Locke and the others were currently in the western part of Ridson, which was covered by the desert, so the natives of the kingdom were unwilling to go there.
Domesticating wild animals was their speciality; every bird in the desert could be their pawn. They were also good at commanding quadrupedal animals. Ridson relied on the wolves as their lookouts in the desert.
Ridson had always been at odds with Karaman. As the saying went, 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend'. Although Faustian didn't establish diplomatic relations with Ridson, the relationship between both kingdoms had been fairly good in the past two years.
As it started getting dark, everyone in the convoy heaved a sigh of relief. The evening was the most anticipated time of the day, but they wouldn't let their guards down as it was also tough to make it through the hazards of the night, among them being the icy-cold temperature and nocturnal hunters.