A mission statement with the header that read ‘Salt Forest Training Excursion’ was handed to Locke. The other seven group members had already stamped their student badges on it, except for him. Without further ado, he stamped his badge on it as well. Once it was submitted to the mission hall tomorrow, it would be official. Angelina’s name was obviously on it as well and he believed that she would explain the mission in detail later on.
They all left the mansion after a while. Henry and Chris were impressed by the bearskin that was hung up in the living room. Although both of them didn’t know anything about the rock-type mountain bear, they could tell that it was very powerful by its size alone. Seeing that it was most probably a mid-level major monster with extraordinary offensive and defensive abilities, they were very assured that Locke was coming with them for the upcoming mission.
“Salt Forest excursion is popular among the caster faculties,” said Angelina.
Locke was no stranger to these kinds of missions. He’d completed enough training excursions to know that not all of them could be completed and that not every student could take on the missions that they wanted, especially the easy ones with high rewards. Only students who had a good background like Joaquin were able to get their hands on those missions. He’d never heard of the Salt Forest mission before, though it could be that he wasn’t privileged enough to. It was a popular mission among the casters, after all.
After Angelina’s briefing, he learned that the Salt Forest of Aomar was akin to the Morphey Forest in Shalor: it was one of the top five main sources of spellcasting materials in the empire. Their upcoming mission was the collection of magic-condensing fruits in the forest, which could be eaten directly or made into potions to help improve the mana condensation of a caster.
Locke knew quite well about the five hot spots for magic materials. He’d been to one of them last winter in the Great Northwestern Range. The other three locations were Moller Highlands in the northwest, Baikal Coast in the east, and Cross Forest in the south. Salt Forest was located in the southwest of the empire and it was not far away from Princeton, so they decided to depart at the end of the fifth month.
The more Locke advanced, the more knowledgeable Angelina became as well. He was more worried about the strength of Glace and the others; they should at least be strong enough to protect themselves as it was impossible for him to always be by their sides and protect them for the rest of their lives.
After studying at Santasco Academy for more than a year, Glace and the others were assessed for their talents. Glace and Lia were found to have casting potential. Kristin, on the other hand, had a talent for spellcasting and great compatibility with impetus. Though, they couldn’t identify any special talent in Suzanne.
Most people could generally use impetus techniques, and only less than a quarter of the population couldn’t cultivate impetus due to some inexplicable factors. This was the case for Suzanne.
When she received her results, she broke down in tears terribly and locked herself in her room, ignoring the consolation of the others. At last, Locke had to force his way into the room and comforted her for the whole night for her to pick herself up. He was helpless about her situation as he didn’t know any methods which could change one’s constitution in such a way so that they could cultivate impetus.
Ever since then, she started to focus on studying economics and arithmetic. She was talented in doing businesses and socialising, so she tried to enrich her knowledge as much as possible and hoped that she could be of help to Locke in the future.
Meanwhile, Kristin was being a pain in the neck. Her mentor, Glace, and Locke had all advised her to learn magic instead of impetus as casters were definitely more powerful than knights, not to mention all the other benefits. However, Kristin still insisted on learning impetus just so that she could spend more time with Locke in the future. He was speechless when he learned her motivations.
In the end, Locke and Glace managed to persuade her to learn magic, but she still insisted on learning impetus on the side. There were those who practised both spells and impetus, but only a small percentage of them were successful as most who did so were jack of all trades, but master of none. Since she was still young, he could only let her be for now and hope that she would come to her senses in the future.
Santasco Academy was one of the top five academies in Princeton, so Locke didn’t bother transferring them to another. They could still keep each other company if they studied in the same place.
In the evening after dinner, Locke went to the courtyard and practised his bare-hand combat techniques as usual. He no longer used the trial and error approach in his training and solely relied on the things he learned in Perseverance. There must be a reason for a training method like that to be taught across centuries, so naturally, it would be far more effective than the method he previously used.
While Angelina was busy experimenting in her alchemy laboratory, Glace and Kristin began studying spellcasting basics. It came to Locke as a surprise that Glace, who was a countess in Shalor, had never even gotten herself tested to see if she had magic potential. But ever since she learned about it, she’d immersed herself in the world of magic and even dropped her ego to borrow a few books from Angelina several times. She’d never talked much to Angelina at home because of the war that happened between their countries previously.
Laffey did her job as a maidservant and went to accompany the both of them in their studies. She would nod off whenever she saw the brick-sized textbooks and the densely packed texts just like Locke would, but nobody knew how she still managed to persist.
Suzanne had also gone deep into her study of economics books as well. Locke had already found a place for her to work, which was in one of the stores that Billie’s family owned in Princeton. Although it wasn’t large, it was good enough for her to gain some experience.
Lia held a book of spells as she quietly watched Locke practise in the courtyard. She wasn’t really interested in learning magic and just treated it as an odd pastime, so she wasn’t making much progress. Watching his training in the courtyard every evening was a habit of hers during the past two years in Princeton. Locke enjoyed her company, feeling that it helped speed up his progress.