With the meeting still ongoing and Locke having discussed the general plan with Jersson, all he had to do left was delegate to his subordinates and give them detailed explanations. Soon after, the meeting came to an end.
After responding to the other squad jarls' greetings, Locke and Jersson bade each other farewell. He continued to think about whether their arrangements were complete as he walked through the camp. He had already reached its entrance by the time he noticed it. He was planning to leave and spend the night at Suzanne's place.
"Good day Sir!" Two soldiers on duty saluted Locke at the entrance. With Locke's current position, some restrictions of the battalion were lifted for him. For example, he could now stay overnight outside.
When he reached the tavern, the curtains had been pulled down. It was already closed. However, that didn't stop him from knocking on the tavern door.
"Coming." After opening the door, Suzanne poked Locke's chest with her finger. "Why are you so loud? What if the others hear us?"
"There's nothing to be afraid of." Locke handed his coat to Suzanne. After he got promoted to platoon jarl, the number of soldiers guarding the tavern increased from two or three to ten people. The entire town now knew that the Green Palm was now under the care of a platoon jarl of the Kingdom of Faustian.
"Oh, someone's acting high and mighty. Satisfied now?" Suzanne rolled her eyes at him, and was left speechless.
Looking at how flirty Suzanne was, Locke could not help but lift her off her feet with a grunt.
"Hey, don't do this. Let me put down these clothes first...No no no, go to the bedroom…" Suzanne struggled in his arms. However, it was futile under his strength, not to mention his impetus.
The two stumbled into the bedroom. After a long, rumbling night, the tavern fell into deep silence. It was already late. Suzanne was sleeping soundly after the madness but Locke was still very energetic. By cultivating impetus, both his body and spirit were strengthened. Therefore, a few hours of humping was not a big deal for him.
Locke got a sense of his impetus and fell into contemplation. The redsea flower branch given by Solon could not be planted. Although Locke was mentally prepared for this, he was still a little upset. When Locke placed the redsea flower branch beside him during cultivation, his impetus flowed better than usual. However, he noticed yesterday that the branch was about to dry up. He didn't know if it would still work after that, but he did not dare to risk it. Like what Solon had said, it was better just make it into juice and drink it.
It lasted only for three days, as he expected. His formerly grain-sized impetus vortex was now the size of a bean, nearly doubling in size. The branch really did him wonders, limited as it was. Locke inferred that it would take another year for his vortex to grow to Yoshk's bean size, and ten or more for it to grow to a low-rank Knecht's bird's-egg-sized vortex.
The average human lived for less than a hundred years. Although Locke was only 18, he didn't want to waste his life in mediocrity. Wyr was already a high-rank Knecht in his 30s. Locke was neither weak or untalented. He believed that he couldn't be much worse off than others.
He definitely had to find other methods of training, considering anything at that point, be it the training-aiding medications available to exchange from the military, or the flesh and blood of monsters.
Looking at Suzanne sleeping peacefully, Locke's heart softened. He met Suzanne's husband two days ago. He was a wretched, bearded middle-aged man. After finding out about Locke's position, he immediately promised to not bother Suzanne anymore, and gave a sum of money to Locke instead. The troops would be going to battle soon, and they needed the situation behind the frontlines to be stable. This guy was a local hegemon, and it wouldn't be a good idea for Locke to do anything unnecessary, so he let him off the bat. However, Locke would be drawing 70% of the profits of the man's illicit businesses.
His tribute to Locke wasn't paid in silver thalers, but Shalorian coins. The value of Shalorian coins was depreciating hard, so they didn't amount to much. These coins were constantly being acquired by the baron's caravans, and the exchange rate was 3:1. That man promised he would give him ten silver coins every week, which amounted to three silver thalers, which was already quite decent.
Of course, Locke would not just let him go scot free like that. It irked him to know that this guy was still the husband of his woman in name. He was preparing to find a chance and deal with him once and for all. But for now, that man could still be used.
While the other platoon jarls looked down on the defeated Shalorians, Locke did not. Some Shalorians were living even better lives after their defeat, which showed that these people were not easily beaten down. Locke could be said to be the first platoon jarl in their camp to accept the tributes of the Shalorians.
Locke walked through the camp early in the morning. Battle would begin the next day, so he must settle some things by today. As soon as he reached the caravan, a manager came out immediately. "Greetings, Platoon Jarl Locke. What can I do for you?" This manager was a family member of a squad jarl in his platoon, so Locke had a slight impression of him. He got half his current 20 silver thalers from him.
Locke came mainly on Suzanne's behalf. He wouldn't be leaving Suzanne in Giza during the battle. Although Giza was conquered by them, and a part of the troops would be stationed there as backup, Locke still felt worried. He arranged for Suzanne to be settled with the caravan.
The fat manager immediately agreed to Locke's request. Locke was not the only one who looked after a woman. The other platoon jarls had more or less a few women with them across their years of battle in foreign land. They could not take care of them during battle, so they would place them under the care of the transportation convoy. Locke was far from the first to come to him for that.
"Is there anything else that you need, Platoon Jarl Locke?" The manager's attitude was attentive to say the least.
It was only expected. While being the manager of the battalion's transport convoy isn't that much inferior to a platoon jarl, Locke had power and the influence of the 100 direct subordinates.
Additionally, he was strong. People who cultivated impetus would easily dominate ordinary people. Someone as powerful as Wyr would usually try to suppress that aura, and even then Locke still felt strongly pressured.
Lastly, the caravan managers' livelihoods depended on Locke and the other platoon jarls. Of all the managers, three served the baron directly. Much of the caravan was formed by big merchants of the domain, and they were aided by five managers. This meant that the majority of the caravans were occupied by these big merchants in the territory, which Locke only found out about two days ago.
Locke could not help but to think whether the bonuses the baron gave his own men were actually from these merchants' profits.
"Nothing much." Locke said, "I will hand you any spoils I acquire in the future." The Baron had stipulated that the troops' private spoils of battle were to be handled by the respective platoons themselves. This was motivate the soldiers. After all, they were fighting for their lives, and without sufficient incentive, even they wouldn't give it their best. Locke, as the platoon jarl, had the right to decide how to deal with the spoils.
"Thank you, Platoon Jarl Locke." The manager was overjoyed. Most of the spoils of the baron's caravan was usually handled baron's own men and he could only compete for spoils to buy and resell with the merchants' caravans, which was a messy affair. Now that he had Locke as a contact, it was starting to bode well for him.
Coming out from the supply camp, Locke walked towards Solon's tent. While he could actually send Suzanne to the baron's caravan, it was a backdoor method, and he did not want to leave a bad impression on the baron by exploiting his station. He asked Yoshk about it and most of the platoon's jarls did the same.
There were two guards in front of the entrance. Locke could immediately sense that these two soldiers also had impetus. But he could feel that these two men were not his match, with both of them being about as strong or less than he was before he started impetus training.
The guards felt the pressure coming from Locke and immediately made a report to Solon. "Come in!" Solon's voice rang lazily from within.
Locke walked into the tent and after a while, Solon came out from behind a screen. He seemed to have just woken up, with his clothing still unkempt. Indeed, Locke could see the crusts around his droopy eyes. The battle was going to start soon and only Solon and Baron Cardoj could bring women into their tents for merrymaking.
Power really did wonders, Locke thought with a sigh.