Though Locke just realised what level he was at, he didn't feel dejected at all. He already felt lucky and grateful for his life when he compared himself to the farmers who just muddled along aimlessly in Faustian. As a lowborn, all he could do is to work hard and climb up the social hierarchy. Locke had never had high ambitions. He felt that it didn't matter where he ended up as long as he'd worked hard.
After knowing that Garon was a Ritter, Locke began to get close to him. He didn't expect a powerhouse like him to give him guidance or to accept him as his disciple, he just wanted to know how different a Ritter was compared to an ordinary person.
After observing for nearly a week, Locke came up with a strange answer. "A Ritter doesn't eat as much as an ordinary person does?" Locke was speechless as he looked at his notes that he'd written sloppily.
Garon didn't eat his meals with the ordinary soldiers and the Aomarian escort wouldn't ask him to have dinner with them as well. He would always sit cross-legged and cultivate by himself whenever it was mealtime instead.
Locke noticed that Garon only ate a piece of azure meat which he'd brought along himself. He guessed that it should be the meat of a type of major monster. Only a major monster's meat contained enough energy to fill a Ritter's stomach. Even Locke's own appetite had doubled ever since he started practising impetus.
Gradually, they were approaching Princeton. In December, Locke spent the New-Year's in Lorenza, a small town in Aomar. In a blink of an eye, he was already twenty.
He didn't feel anything in particular about spending new year's in a foreign country as he'd done the same when he was fighting in the war back then. Though he felt more at peace this year compared to the previous years. He didn't have any regrets because he'd spent it with Lia, Angelina, Glace and the others. That day, Aomar had its first snowfall of the year. The group had to stay in Lorenza for about two days before continuing their journey due to the heavy snow.
In mid-January, after travelling across five countries in three and a half months, the group finally arrived in Princeton. The city was like a steel behemoth that laid in the centre of the southern part of Aomar, being surrounded by walls that were made out of obsidian and steel. It was a fortified city that hadn't been captured for 1800 years and also the capital city where pivotal decisions about the empire had been made 3000 years.
As they got nearer to the city, they could feel the majestic atmosphere. They looked like a small colony of ants entering an intricate nest.
Princeton had a population of four million people, which was already twice the number of Faustian's population. It was a city that was comparable to a country.
But when Locke entered it, he didn't feel that it was packed or crowded. Instead, it was the complete opposite. The 30-metre-wide asphalt road and the 10-metre-high buildings made him feel like he was in a land of giants.
"This is such a gigantic city," exclaimed Locke. Angelina, who was standing next to him, was stunned by it as well.
After bringing the mission to Aomar's foreign office, Garon and his troop left without bidding farewell.
By the time the entry permits for all the members in the mission were processed in the luxurious foreign office, it was already afternoon. The difference between Aomar and Faustian was that the civilians were called citizens there.
The citizens in the empire were divided into three classes. The first-class citizens were made up of merchants and their family members, the second-class citizens were mostly artisans and craftsmen, and the third-class citizens were farmers and peasants.
Citizens who were below the third class were paupers and there were slums that were specially built for them. There were very few paupers in Faustian and they would never starve to death as long as they made an honest living. But it was different in Aomar. Most of them were captives from a defeated country or escaped slaves. The paupers' existence made Locke realise that Aomar might not be as good as he thought.
Though Garon left, they were still heavily restricted in what they were allowed to do. All of the soldiers' weapons were logged, and a certificate that represented their identity was distributed to everyone in the mission.
The nobles still remained nobles, and Angelina received the title of Countess. Her title wasn't considered minor, since, as a Ritter in Aomar, she also had the same title.
All of the other nobles' titles were downgraded a level. Cage was now a baronet and Locke was only an untitled person of noble descent. His rank was lower than a knight but higher than a first-class citizen. As for the actual untitled descendants of nobles, most of them only got registered as first-class citizens.
Of course, the spoiled descendants of nobles wouldn't take the slight lying down, but before they could make a fuss about it in the office, the spears and swords from the Aomarians calmed them down.
The Aomarians gave Locke the exact same feeling Garcia and Romm did. He didn't expect there would be Erdritters on duty in such a small place.
Lia, Glace and the rest's identities were a problem. After trying every possible way to persuade the officers, he eventually pleaded with Angelina to help him out, and the women were all granted first-class citizenship.
Given how Shalor was no more, Glace's title obviously couldn't be used anymore. They were only foreigners now, which meant they could be legally enslaved. Fortunately, Angelina was a generous person and she still helped Locke despite her jealousy.
After converting the thalers into moores, the hundreds of people in the mission walked out of the office.
"Let's find a place to settle down first," Cage said, recognising they weren't in Faustian anymore and things were different. They had to get used to the local customs.
Under the guidance of the Aomarian officers, the group rented an estate on Sanschel Street. It was as big as the margrave's mansion and it could accommodate the entire group with less than three hundred people in it. The capital guards and the shadow guards would be responsible for guarding the mansion.
Though, Angelina wasn't concerned with the food and accommodation arrangements for the descendants of nobles and their servants who had come along. The Faustian nobles who had come to study would have to find their own place to stay.
After settling in her new home on the second day, Angelina went to the palace on behalf of the Faustian royalty to have an audience with the emperor of Aomar, Alexander XLVI. Angelina and Alexander met for less than five minutes, but the mission had to wait in the palace for an entire day.
On the third day, Angelina followed the address Garcia had given her and found her residence in the capital. It was a mansion larger than the one they'd rented. It seemed like she was quite well-off.
Since Garcia wasn't in the mansion when they arrived, Angelina handed the scorpiondrake's scales to her butler. The two hundred purple scales were as heavy as two sets of iron armour, but the old butler was able to lift them effortlessly. Locke was shocked by what he'd seen. He really shouldn't judge a book by its cover.
They spent the next ten days shopping in Princeton. Even then they hadn't explored a tenth of the city. Locke and Angelina decided to head to the Imperial Academy since it was only three streets down from their mansion.