Before the diplomatic convoy reached the majestic city gate, a troop of cavalrymen walked out to welcome them. A tall knight in black armour rode a black horse led a few other riders behind him.
"Is it Princess Angelina from the Kingdom of Faustian?" asked the black-armoured knight. Although Locke was very far away from the knight, he could feel his overwhelming power.
It didn't seem like he was a Knecht as no Knechts could ever exude such aura.
"Yes, it's me!" Angelina said from within her carriage. She then stepped out of the carriage in a silver robe.
The black-armoured knight commanded his men to stay put and approached the group alone. It seemed like he wasn't bothered by the fully-armed Faustian soldiers around him.
"Frau Garcia has ordered me to meet you here and bring you to Princeton," said the black-armoured knight meticulously.
"Mighty knight, may I know your name?" asked Angelina with a smile.
"You can call me Herr Garon," replied the knight.
"Well then, sorry to trouble you Herr Garon," said Angelina.
Most of them realised that Garon had addressed Angelina informally. If this knight didn't have a noble title that was comparable to hers, it could only mean that his strength was great enough for him to not be bound by the conventions of nobility.
With Garon leading in front, the convoy followed closely behind him. Angelina returned to her carriage. Cage was at the front of the convoy, followed by Locke and the others. They were all very near to Garon.
The mission from Faustian didn't ask any nonsensical questions nor made any inappropriate remarks, being on their best behaviour. Garon, who was secretly observing them, nodded in approval. Compared to the diplomatic missions from other countries that he'd hosted before, the Faustians left a good impression on him.
Garon rarely spoke, so his more talkative attendant introduced them to Barbrador along the way. This city located at the southeast border of Aomar.
Although the attendant had told them repeatedly that Barbrador was the poorest city in Aomar, Locke didn't believe him at all. Locke felt that the grandness of the city walls and the prosperity within it were comparable to the likes of Felor and Audis.
Although he'd only travelled less than one-third of Barbrador, he could tell that this city was big enough to accommodate 200,000 people. He'd never heard of any other city that could accommodate a population of more than 200,000 people other than Peterstown and Felor. He ignored the attendant's nonsense and continued looking at his surroundings.
They took a break from their journey at a courier station that was located in the southwest of Barbrador. While it was called a courier station, it was actually a large hotel which covered quite a large area. They felt that the three-storey building looked more like a palace rather than a courier station.
The Aomarian entourage seemed to be used to the surprised reactions from the visitors who'd just arrived in their country. They left the group alone after preparing the accommodation and meals for them.
"Find your own rooms and rest for a day. We'll continue our journey tomorrow!" said Cage.
The servants stayed in a quadruple room, whereas the soldiers and the squad jarls stayed in triple and double rooms respectively. Only the descendants of nobles and jarls like Locke were allocated single rooms. Since Locke had the authority, he also arranged single rooms for Lia, Glace and the others.
"Why are we leaving so soon?" asked Locke as he walked towards Cage. He thought that the mission would stay at Barbrador for a few days before setting off again.
"The princess' classes are about to start. Plus, we have to handle some matters at the palace, so we need to arrive in Princeton one month in advance," said Cage helplessly.
"Aren't her classes starting two months later?" It was only the end of December, so there was still some time before the princess started school in February.
"I don't think we can reach Princeton in one month's time." Cage left after saying that, leaving Locke astonished.
After talking to Bond during dinner, Locke found out the reason why. The empire was too large. According to Bond, Aomar's territory was a hundred times larger than Faustian's. It would take ten days to travel across Faustian at top speed, whereas it would take three years or more to travel across the entire Aomar Empire.
Faustian had a total population of around two million people. According to the official statistics, Aomar, on the other hand, had around 700 million. This was Locke's first time hearing such a huge number.
With a total population of 700 million people, Locke couldn't imagine how big and vast Aomar was. Locke felt that he would never acknowledge how large the number was in his lifetime.
No wonder the attendant said that Barbrador was the poorest city in Aomar. With a population of just over 200,000 people, it was indeed insignificant compared to the 700 million.
The convoy set off again after resting for a night. Unfortunately, Locke didn't have the chance to experience the other delights in Barbrador.
This time, in addition to the entourage of Faustian soldiers, they were accompanied by an Aomarian escort led by Garon himself. The duty of this escort was more towards watching over them rather than protecting them.
Although the group had doubled its members, it didn't slow down at all. In fact, their speed had increased drastically as their journey was smooth sailing with Garon's escort.
"Herr Garon should be the vice governor of Barbrador." Angelina was eating a fruit that she'd just bought from the city just now.
"Vice governor?" asked Locke puzzledly. It'd been half a month since they left Barbrador and they'd already travelled past more than twenty cities along the way. He was already desensitised from the initial shock.
After passing by larger cities along the way, he could tell why Barbrador was the poorest city in Aomar. Ria, the city that they'd left from this morning, was thrice the size of Felor, and it had a population of 800,000 people.
The city of Ria had already broadened Locke's horizons, and he would be experiencing more of these soon as he hadn't arrived at his destination, Princeton, yet. Locke was very curious about how magnificent the capital of Aomar would be.
According to Angelina, Garon was the vice governor of Barbrador because the Aomarian emperor would bestow the position of a governor to every Ritter in the empire.
A Ritter was already good enough to be entitled as a margrave in Faustian, but he could only be a governor in Aomar.
However, owning a city with at least two or three hundred thousand citizens wasn't any worse off than being a margrave of a small kingdom. Other than the city itself, he also had power over the towns and villages around that city.
"Garon must've offended someone, that's why he's only the vice governor of the poorest city in the empire." Angelina laughed. Her carriage was soundproof, so she didn't have to worry that someone could hear her outside. Locke wasn't interested in listening about the intrigue between the nobles.
"How many Ritters are there in Aomar?" Locke asked the question that he was most interested in. This empire had dominated the mainland and had hundreds of tributary countries, so he wanted to know how powerful this empire was.
"Aomar is also known as the nation of myriad cities," said Angelina as she looked at him.
"The nation of myriad cities... Ten thousand?!" murmured Locke. If there was at least one Ritter in a city, then it would mean that...
Locke realised that he'd just learnt about a small part of the world and he was still quite ignorant of the larger whole.