Their classes hadn’t started yet, so they weren’t in a hurry to return to the academy. They left after bidding farewell to each other in the city centre.
Locke was probably the most liked person in the group at the moment. Billie and Daenie had invited him over to their house to thank him again for his saving their lives, but he turned both of them down. He waved goodbye and sat in the carriage, now finally able to rest for two days once he returned home. There was a big difference between sleeping in a carriage and a bed. Angelina’s carriage was luxurious, but it couldn't even be compared to his bed.
He got out of the carriage and had the attendants to move his luggage. Then, he saw the crystal scorpiondrake and noted that it was bigger than before. “Did you overfeed it?”
They’d initially wanted to bring Angie along with them to carry out their mission, but their target was a spirit. Its claws and venom were harmless to the spirits, so they’d just left it to sleep inside the spatial gear. The space inside the black pearl on Angelina’s neck was alarmingly large and it could even store a living being inside. Angie had been living in it for the past few weeks.
“No, Angie is still growing.” Angelina ignored his snide remark and went to greet her pet. It ran towards her when she waved for it to come. It preferred Angelina over the fierce Locke as she’d never beaten it.
“When will it stop growing?” It’d been almost half a year since Angie hatched. It used to be only as tall as his knees when it was born, but it was now up to his waist and it was still growing. Who knew when it would stop?
“I’m not sure. Most major monsters grow in accordance with their ranks and levels.” As a descendant of a high-ranked major monster, Angie was already a low-level major monster when it was born. It would eventually become a high-level major monster one or two centuries later. If it could advance further in the future, it might even reach its parents' level, but that would take at least five centuries.
Time meant nothing to major monsters. In theory, scorpiondrakes had a lifespan of 1200 years, but that was a long time for humans. Locke and Angelina wouldn’t wait for Angie to mature naturally through aging.
Angelina made a detour on the way back to get some meat of poisonous major monsters. She’d also bought some low and mid-ranked major monsters’ crystal cores from several large cities at a high price for Angie. Its body size had doubled because it’d eaten too much food along the way. Now, the 'little' scorpiondrake was anything but.
Everyone in the mansion knew about their return. The capital guard jarl and the escort guard jarl personally went out to welcome them home with his guards.
One of the shadow guard jarls had gone out to carry out his mission, and the other was in the mansion. But the shadow guards usually kept themselves hidden in the dark, so they didn’t show up.
As for the casters and the nobles in the diplomatic mission, apart from Nolan and the two other casters who stayed behind to protect Angelina, everyone else was out handling their own affairs. These casters didn’t lack money and they could live well in Princeton.
Cage also rarely stayed in the mansion. He came to Aomar to seek fortune, like the other noble scions. Apart from leading the diplomatic mission, he was also currently studying in a school in Aomar. Although it wasn’t as good as the Imperial Academy, its standing was comparable to the school that Kristin, Lia, and the other women were in.
When the holidays ended, Locke went back to studying and training. As the only mid-rank Knecht in his class, he was always in the limelight. Locke didn’t choose to advance to the third grade as he felt that he’d only learned a few things in his last semester. He still had a lot to learn from the knight training courses. Of course, he didn’t spend all of his time hanging out with beginner and low-rank Knechts.
He was finally able to enter the mission hall, which was located in the central academic building. Since mid-rank Knechts were considered capable enough in Aomar, the academy allowed them to take some low-difficulty assignments. The degree of difficulty of these missions wasn’t fixed.
The mission that they did during the holidays was relatively easy if the strength of the members in the group was well-balanced, though the rewards were more often stingy than generous, so they had to be chosen wisely.
Locke wanted to be more productive in his school life, so he took on three missions even though it was only the first week of school.
Back in her room, Angelina laid down on a chair lazily while reading a book. She casually asked, “You’re not even short of money, why are you working so hard?”
Locke, who was looking at the scorpiondrake, flicked its forehead. It bared its claws and snarled at him, but he just ignored it, stood up and said, “I think going on adventures to challenge myself can help me improve.”
Although he’d suffered a lot of injuries in the last mission, he felt that mixing it up with some practical experience was better than merely studying at school every day. He could tell that this was the fastest method to improve his strength.
“Then you should wait for me to advance to a low-rank Lehrling first,” said Angelina.
Locke nodded and agreed without thinking too much about it. He knew what she meant, and he didn’t mind having a low-rank Lehrling coming along.
Half a month later, Angelina advanced to a low-rank Lehrling. Her advancement wasn’t a big deal compared to Locke’s. Only Locke and a few guards stood outside her meditation room and waited for her.
When the door of the meditation room opened, Locke, who’d always been rather sensitive to changes in his surroundings, immediately felt a wave of mental power that was as strong as Joaquin’s around him.
Angelina, who’d advanced to a low-rank Lehrling, still looked the same as she was before. The only difference was that her eyes were now sparkling and gleaming, which left a deep impression on others.
“Why do you keep staring into my eyes?” Angelina felt shy when he kept looking at her. She blushed and punched him lightly.
“I wasn’t expecting that an advancement could make someone look prettier.” Locke, who’d always been an uncouth man, had just complimented her without reserve, though she was all too overjoyed to hear it.
“Nonsense,” she said, trying to hide her swooning.