Unlike Byzalle and the others, Shimak had never seen much of the world. These nobles from the country might not care about their etiquette, but it was different for the nobles who were from the city and the royal capital; every word uttered, gesture and even facial expression was done with thorough thought.
Shimak couldn’t tell that Locke was a noble from the moment he stood up, walked over and reached his hand out to him; it wasn't what a highborn would usually use as a greeting, hence Shimak's rude question. The atmosphere grew tense after he uttered his question.
Locke squinted his eyes and looked at Shimak.
“What about it? Do you want to check my identity?” Locke guffawed.
“I’m just expressing my doubts,” said Shimak calmly. Although he wasn’t being aggressive, the nobles around him felt a chill down their spine.
“Here’s my student badge.” A ring-shaped medal suddenly appeared on Locke’s hand. Not only did Shimak notice it, the other nobles around him had also seen it as well.
He just used spatial gear! That was easily worth three thousand gold moores, and this knight from the Imperial Academy casually wore it around. At this moment, nobody doubted Locke’s identity anymore. Not to mention, three thousand gold moores was just a suggested price. The smallest spatial gear was worth five thousand gold moores in the black market, and they were almost never in stock.
While the nobles from this backwater like this might have several thousand gold coins, they wouldn’t squander their money on a spatial gear that was of little use to them. Spatial gear was like a watershed that separated the major nobles from the minor nobles. Although Aomar was more powerful and prosperous than Faustian, they both had something in common: spatial gear was something owned exclusively by major nobles.
Coupled with the fact that only nobles were eligible to study in the Imperial Academy, there was no need to doubt Locke’s identity when he presented his student badge. Nobody dared to forge one lest they wanted to risk having a knight bounty placed on them.
Shimak didn’t seem to react much to Locke’s actions. He just smiled and said, “Nice to meet you, kid!” He then took a glass of rum from a maidservant and drank a toast to Locke.
It was obvious that he’d offered the toast as an apology of sorts. He didn’t know much about Locke’s background, so there was no need to offend him just because of a minor misunderstanding.
Locke didn’t want to continue the conversation either. He was just a quasi-noble in Aomar and his status was similar to Irene’s. He took a glass of rum from the maid and drank all of it in one go. He rarely drank rum as its alcohol content was stronger than those of wine and beer, but it shouldn’t be a problem for him as it would be difficult for him to get drunk based on his current strength.
The atmosphere in the hall lightened up all of a sudden. After watching a good show, the nobles began socialising with each other. Approximately two-thirds of the nobles who were nearby had gathered in this small banquet hall today. Most of them hadn’t seen each other for a long time, so it was a good opportunity for them to catch up.
Besides the minor standoff between Locke and Shimak, Irene was also annoyed at Veyron. Veyron was stuck to her tail all day, like a bee drawn to the pleasant fragrance of a flower. He didn’t seem to be bothered by her irritated expression.
He was initially there to join in the fun and meet his future wife. Surprisingly, she was very beautiful and the fact that she was a knight from the Imperial Academy had attracted him more. He fell head over heels with her the moment he met her.
Locke drank a toast to Irene’s parents as well so that he wouldn’t leave them out. Irene hadn’t told her parents about his ‘identity’ yet, but everyone could guess it by now. Then, he rejected the other nobles’ requests for a toast and walked towards Irene.
Irene seemed relieved that he was there and left Veyron, who had been staring at her, in a daze. Before Veyron could admire the beauty in front of him, Irene stood up and held onto Locke’s arm. She then walked away with Locke as Veyron glared at them. Locke’s body stiffened and he trembled slightly. He tried to pull his arm away, but Irene wouldn’t let him do so. After several vain attempts, he had no choice but to just let her be.
Many nobles saw the scene, but none of them was surprised by it. As far as they were concerned, he must have been a son of a major noble somewhere to be able to study at the academy and show his spatial gear casually. Irene’s father was just a baron, so he was definitely out of her league.
Irene’s parents had also seen what happened but they were very calm about it. She was the apple of their eye, so they’d always been very lenient with her personal life. They would accept her boyfriend as long as he was sensible. Not to mention, they were extremely pleased with their potential son-in-law.
Byzalle smiled bitterly. He initially wanted to gain benefits from Shimak’s family, but his niece had unexpectedly found an even better suitor. He wasn’t stubborn and would definitely go for the better option, so he just drank for the rest of the night and forgot the promise he’d made with Shimak.
In a bedroom in the castle after the banquet ended, Locke took off his armour and changed into his pajamas. He’d gotten this suit of armour from Felippe’s treasury and had worn it for a year now. It still seemed as good as new.
As he was looking at his armour, he suddenly had the thought that he might’ve neglected Glace recently. He would only spend time with her on the bed when he returned home from his missions or his classes.
“I’ll spend more time with her later on.” Locke sighed. Glace was the eldest among all of his women, being two years Suzanne's senior. He’d always felt inferior to this shrewd and wise woman and could only childishly get an edge over her in bed.
“Hey, Locke! Are you asleep?” said a female voice from outside the room.
Locke opened the door. “It’s time to sleep. We have to carry out our mission tomorrow!”
“Are you not going to let me in for a bit?” Irene, dressed entirely in white, asked as she pouted. He was blocking the door, so it was obvious that he didn’t want to let her in.
“I’m going to bed. Don’t forget about our mission tomorrow, we have to go and investigate the mine in Phyllis’ territory!” Locke immediately closed the door after that.
“Hmph!” Irene stomped angrily after the door was slammed in her face. She rarely wore dresses, but Locke didn’t even bother to give her another look.