“I don’t want to be in a group with that guy!” Joaquin stomped her feet and crossed her arms. She didn’t even bother to look at Locke who wasn’t far away.
“Please, Joaquin,” Angelina said as she tugged on Joaquin’s hand.
Locke had caused a lot of trouble at Joaquin’s house last time and it wasn’t easy for her to put up with him up till now, so why would she team up with him?
“He is a mid-rank Knecht and it would be a great help to us.” Daenie walked over to persuade Joaquin as well. The three of them had different personalities, but they would always work together. After thinking about it for quite some time, Joaquin finally agreed to it reluctantly.
Angelina heaved a sigh of relief when she’d gotten Joaquin’s approval. Apart from the three of them, their group also consisted of a few knights and Lehrlings from their class, and Joaquin was picked to lead them thanks to her family background and her strong character.
Joaquin said, “Let’s go and choose our mission next Friday!”
She was the head of the group and Angelina was the think tank. Whenever they encountered any problem, both of them were usually the ones who solved them.
“Okay.” Angelina nodded in agreement. The mission list would only officially be unveiled next Saturday. If Joaquin could choose the mission in advance, she must’ve had pulled a few strings. This was also the main reason why Angelina and most of the group members were willing to carry out the mission with her.
In the carriage on the way home, Locke said, “It isn’t a must for me to join your group anyways.”
“You don’t know how envious people are of you for being able to carry out the mission with students of the caster’s faculty.” Angelina rolled her eyes at him.
Locke fell silent. He wasn’t unappreciative of the opportunity. He was just worried that he couldn’t get along with that group of people. He’d heard from Angelina that there were two other knights in the group, and they were just low-rank Knechts. Among the five Lehrlings in the group, Joaquin was the only low-rank Lehrling and the rest of them were beginner-rank Lehrlings.
He was mainly worried because it seemed like everyone else in the group was born in a noble family except for him. Locke, a lowborn, had participated in many noble gatherings and he’d always felt out of place. He wasn’t sure whether it was because the nobles in Aomar were xenophobic or that he couldn’t adapt to the conventions.
“I’ll be advancing to a low-rank Lehrling next month,” said Angelina as she flipped through the pages of the book. It was as if she’d just said something unimportant.
“Okay.” Locke knew the most about her current state. She had a solid foundation and she’d already done all the preparations. Although a caster’s advancement was a little more difficult that a knight’s, he was confident that she would succeed.
According to her, she could already advance when she left Felor, but she’d delayed it because she wanted to learn more in Aomar first just to be doubly sure.
Speaking of this, Locke felt that it was strange that Angelina didn’t seem to be lacking library points as she would always bring various spells books back to study every two days. He was very impressed with how fast she went through them. It would take him a few months to finish reading a thick book, but Angelina could finish it in less than a week.
“Are we bringing Angie along?” asked Locke as he thought of her pet. Angie only ate the food that was fed by Locke and Angelina now and it would attack anyone else that approached it. It dared to snarl at mid-rank Knecht guards. It’d indeed not disgraced its parents.
“Yes, of course,” replied Angelina. The combat power of a low-ranked major monster shouldn’t be underestimated. Besides, its stinger was also harmful to mid-rank Knechts.
When Friday came, the knights and casters from various faculties gathered in front of the academy’s central academic building. The hall of the academic building was also crowded. There were a lot of people who had powerful connections like Joaquin in such a huge empire. It wasn’t surprising that they had the privilege of choosing the tasks in advance.
“How’s it going?” asked Angelina to Joaquin who’d just walked out from the crowd.
“We’ll enter from the side door later. It’ll be our turn on the third round,” said Joaquin as she wiped the sweat off her neck.
Half an hour later, it was finally their turn. A middle-aged man in a tie opened the door of a luxurious office and welcomed Joaquin and the others.
“Uncle Krones, long time no see!” Joaquin strode towards the man and gave him a hug.
“Little Joaquin, you’ve grown so much in a blink of an eye!” Krones and Joaquin’s father were business partners, and he’d visited her house when she was young. Krones was currently an administrator in the academy, so he had some authority.
“Uncle, you look too young for your age,” said Joaquin with a smile.
After they’d exchanged greetings, Krones took a stack of materials out and said, “These are the missions that I’ve chosen for you. It’s not difficult. Take a look.”
The missions that were assigned by the academy to the students every semester weren’t that easy to complete.
As the most well-known academy in the empire, thousands of students were enrolled in the academy every year, but there were only hundreds of graduates. Apart from some who failed to graduate because they didn't have enough credits, the rest of them were basically dead. The average casualty rate in mission trials was about one-fifth per semester.
The goal of the academy wasn’t to raise up harmless cubs, but rather ferocious tigers. The casualty rate was relatively low in the lower and upper grades, and it was the highest in the intermediate grade. This was because the strength of students in the intermediate grade varied widely, resulting often in failure and death if they chose a mission beyond their abilities.
Since Joaquin and the others were still in the lower grade, they would most probably not have any difficult missions. But to be on the safe side, Joaquin used some personal connections to choose a mission that was less difficult and more rewarding. Nobody would object to it.
The missions that were assigned by the academy every year were real-life situations that were difficult to solve. Once the students had completed the missions, they would be awarded a generous amount of credits and bonuses, and there would also be rewards from the local administration.
They could train themselves in the mission and also be rewarded for it, so why wouldn’t they do it? Even some seniors who were confident of their own strength would go to the mission hall to pick their missions by themselves even when the academy hadn’t instructed them to do so.
In this respect, the academy was well prepared. The mission hall was set up in the centre of the academy, which was the most frequented location. However, only third-year students who were mid-rank Knechts or low-rank Lehrlings were allowed to enter the hall.
Locke was now a mid-rank Knecht and he could apply to advance to the third grade next semester. Of course, he could also choose to stay in the second grade and complete the second half of his semester.
The rules of the academy were very interesting. Low-rank Knechts could directly advance to the second grade without studying, whereas mid-rank Knechts could enter the third grade and high-rank Knechts could enter the fourth grade without studying as well. As for entering the fifth grade, the students must either complete their four years of studies or reach peak level as high-rank Knechts, clearly delineating the cream of the crop from the rest.
'Investigate the missing persons in Rose Manor.'
'Eliminate the three bloodthirsty wolves that endangered the town in Maisel Mountains.'
'Help Viscount Holden to annihilate 700 rioters.'
'Exterminate the spirits in Monki Mountains.'
'Head to Crucifix Star Forest to capture the illusory deer cubs.'
There were a couple for them to choose from. After Joaquin and Angelina discussed thoroughly, Joaquin said, “Uncle Krones, we’ll pick this one!”
Krones picked it up and took a look at it. It was 'Exterminate the spirits in Monki Mountains'.