The standard level for entry into the Hall of Knights in Faustian was mid-rank Knecht. Anyone who met the condition would be inducted into one of the organizations affiliated with the Hall of Knights and be able to take on missions issued by the Hall, allowing them to benefit from the generous rewards that ranged from potions or impetus techniques. That was the reason low-rank Knechts wanted to join the Hall so badly.
However, it was different in Aomar. Only high-rank Knechts and above would qualify. While Angelina wanted really badly to join the Sanctum, Locke was more ambivalent towards the Hall as he wasn't too familiar with the organisation.
During the general history class he had today, he did manage to learn something about its origins. As he had read from the journal of the black caster from back then, the continent they were on was called Missia. There was no consensus about how the name came about. The Hall of Knights, on the other hand, was the most influential organisation across the entire continent.
"The sacred grounds of all knights are located in the northern highlands!" said an old knight fervently with his fists passionately raised. More than half of the Knechts in Perseverance were attending the lecture. Thanks to his frequent training missions, Locke had a decent understanding of their approximate strength.
There were around three hundred high-rank Knechts in Princeton spread across all four knight faculties, including Perseverance. Each one had around eighty high-rank Knechts on average. These were the elite students of the academy who were mostly fourth or fifth years. Once they graduated, they were guaranteed a job with the empire and given a commander position as well as a decent noble rank. If they ever became Ritters, they were practically guaranteed a governorship over a city, though that was only a very small minority. Locke had heard that less than one in ten people actually became Ritters.
As for mid-rank Knechts, they were quite numerous among the student population. Most knights that showed up in the mission halls were about Locke's level of strength and they numbered a thousand across the whole academy.
Low-rank Knechts and beginner-rank Knechts were the majority, with their numbers swelling up to around three thousand, making up half the knight student population. Most of them were still brushing up the basics in the preliminary courses.
Locke had come to attend this lecture because it was among the few that gave students a general introduction to the continent as a whole. It turned out as he expected and he learned quite a lot about the Hall of Knights.
After greeting a few others when his class was over, he left the lecture hall. He had gotten to know them at the mission hall thanks to being approached by them for having quite a high mission completion rate. But after joining them on a few missions, he stopped doing missions in groups. He hated following the lead of others and believed he could lead much better himself, but that was rarely possible as he was only a second-year student. Not to mention, there was also the issue of splitting the spoils.
These days, he usually worked alone, which proved to be much more of a challenge for his abilities. A single mistake could cost him his life and there might not even be a body left to mourn.
In the past two years, he had trained himself through missions alone, only coming to the academy from the odd lecture or two. They weren't too applicable in daily combat, so he still needed the benefit of actual experience.
After the new year, Locke went to the Great Northwestern Range of Aomar. Snow the size of feathers fell there as he fought a grey bear in his light-blue heavy armour. During that fight, he suffered a wound about half a finger deep, but he managed to kill an adult rock-type bear which was a mid-level major monster, the pelt and preserved head of which were hung up in the main hall of his residence.
During the third month, he rode to the desert in the west on his green warhorse and wielded a lance as he wiped out the Sandstorm Bandits that had been plaguing the area for the good part of a decade. Rumour said that the leader, Mad Dog Olaf, was a mid-rank Knecht, but even he was cut into two halves by the wandering knight.
In the fourth month, Locke went to the city of Montlis covered in wounds and rested there for a whole month. Unlike the exaggerated rumours, Locke managed to kill the bandit leader at the cost of suffering some ten slashes to his back, but it was well worth it. Each one of the heads in his spatial gear was worth a bounty of more than a hundred gold moores, the leaders' was worth even more.
At the end of the sixth month, he travelled to the Kendar Valley on the Costaya Plains in the southeast and fought two bladebeak owls to the death. Falconim allowed him to move with great agility among the cliffs, ridges and trees to engage in aerial battle. Even though the owls managed to rip a piece of flesh or two from him, he was still able to slash their two-meter-wide wings off. Covered in the blood of his prey, he struggled as he climbed up a cliff with the spoils.
In the middle of the ninth month, he travelled with the forces of the northern neighbour of Aomar, the Kingdom of Osdale. It was his first time leaving the country in the past two years, much to the others' worry.
During the twelfth month, he arrived at Fort Ibis, within the borders of Osdale with another unit of five thousand armoured Aomarian troops by the invitation of the Osdale royal family to suppress a rebellion by some local nobles.
It was during that war that Locke learned the true terrifying might of Aomar, the strongest nation on the continent. The five thousand heavily armoured soldiers and a few hundred knights from Princeton Academy formed a force that utterly dominated the rebels. Even normal infantry of Aomar were at least low-rank Knechts, while the rebels were merely normal folk who couldn't even use impetus.