Locke stared at a handful of items in the training room, lost in thought. The oval-shaped blood essence tablet was only as big as the tip of his thumb and looked like a tiny ruby, weighing in at about ten grams. Beside was a test tube as long as his forearm, containing crimson potion. Its pale pink bottom fizzled with bubbles, giving it a cloudy appearance.
The cliffedge grass lying in proximity still had dewdrops clinging to its leaves- a sign that its previous owner preserved it well. Its appearance was best described as a dwarf green plant with a characteristic slender stem.
There were also several other potions and items that Locke collected over the last two years for this occasion. Unlike nobles of affluent upbringing or prominent background, grassroots knights like Locke had to accumulate everything necessary for advancement through time. But speaking of which, Locke was no longer the same rookie that served the second Faustian Falcon corp infantry. Not many in Aomar could tell that Locke was a peasant, thanks to Angelina’s well-rounded assistance and Glace’s influence.
Taking a deep breath, Locke activated Falconim and attempted to reach its peak. His advancement attempt this time around was risky, taking place only three years after Locke became a mid-ranked Knecht. A gap of five years was usually the ideal, but things weren’t going as planned. Once Angelina became a mid-rank Lehrling and headed to the Sanctum to further her studies, it would be difficult for Locke to meet her again. The only way around it was to become a high-ranked Knecht.
In Aomar, the Hall of Knights approached and recruited high-rank Knechts. As one of the strongest organizations on the Missia Continent, annual recruitments were important for the Hall of Knights to sustain its glorious heritage. High-rank Knechts were their main lifeblood and good stand-ins for Ritters, being able to play many roles, especially in war.
After learning about the Hall and the Sanctum’s close ties, he decided on making his advancement. If he joined the Hall, it would be easier for him to spend time with Angelina in the future.
Locke wasn’t about to wait a few years to see her again; that was not his style. Despite his humble personality, he was not averse to risk. Plus, Locke was ready to face the worst-case scenario: failure.
As he circulated his impetus, Locke weighed his probability of success. During his study at the Princeton Imperial Academy, Locke despised his arithmetic courses. But as a result, his logical thinking skills improved greatly.
Blood essence was a rare item prized for its property of repeat usage.In the past one and a half months, Locke was heavily reliant on the blood essence’s rapid recovery boost during six gruelling missions. He only managed to succeed in five; a burrowing pangolin managed to run off from him before he could finish it off.
However, his success in those missions came at the cost: his body was covered in new wounds. Five was the number of missions he’d completed in the past half year, and yet he had done it again in one and a half months. If it wasn’t for blood essence, he would’ve bled out twice. The gruelling battles and near-death experiences had been effective in stabilizing his foundation, however.
Ten grams of blood essence was the maximum dosage for each use. It was also the most efficient amount for maximum effect. Any more than that and Locke would likely explode into a bloody mess as a result from his internal energy running rampant. Using it, his advancement’s success rate was boosted by 20%, which was more than plenty.
He also had a crimson potion courtesy of Joaquin. There were initially two bottles, but he traded one to Chief Shabille. In the case of failure, his next breakthrough attempt would be even harder and there was no telling if he could obtain this precious potion again, but he still decided to use it.
The enhancement effect provided by the crimson potion was similar to blood essence. They were advancement-aiding items and the cornerstone behind Locke’s confidence. Cliffedge grass’s effect paled in comparison; it only offered a 1.5% improvement rate with agonizing side effects. Though, while pain might increase the difficulty of a knight’s breakthrough, Locke didn’t care.
Locke’s success rate was a good 60% with all potions and supporting items combined, which wasn’t too shabby. Many knights would’ve stopped advancing after becoming mid-rank Knechts. It wasn’t that they refused to aim higher, but that the room for advancement was far too slim. The average rate of breakthrough success was only around 20%, so it wasn’t a risk worth taking.
If Locke continued to train over a span of two years, his success rate would be at least 75% or even 80%. The abundance of time would allow him to build a better foundation or collect other useful auxiliary potions, but he didn’t have that time to spare. After the last surge of Falconim, Locke exhaled a mouthful of stale air and reached for the crimson potion.
The wait outside the training room was long and anxious. The rock walls of the room were specially commissioned by Angelina, which cost almost as much as her alchemy laboratory. It was almost impossible to learn what was going on inside, ensuring the utmost privacy, making for a rather decent training location for high-rank Knechts.
Suzanne and Lia held hands, their faces filled with unmasked worry. They weren’t well versed in how impetus worked, but they never failed to notice how beaten up Locke usually looked after his advancements, something which scarred them deeply.
Kristin and Laffey stood next to Glace. The young girl tugged on Glace’s sleeve. “Auntie, will brother be alright?” asked the young girl out of the blue.
“Of course,” Glace comforted as she picked Kristin up. She had heard from Laffey that Locke had returned battered and exhausted, which were signs he had gone through several grueling battles. Glace and Kristin couldn’t help but feel rather concerned.
As for Angelina, she stood by her own, her eyes trained on the tightly shut door with an indecipherable expression.