It had been one week since Locke became a high-rank Knecht, and he had healed most of his injuries since. However, he wasn’t keen on staying still. He was already itching to leave the bed the next day he regained consciousness but was stopped by Angelina and the others. They wouldn't let him get up at all. Locke, who would be turning twenty-four soon, was bestowed a rare opportunity to feel like a smothered mama’s boy again.
Angelina, Glace, Suzzane and Lia had taken turns to make sure Locke wasn’t left alone. Even young Kristin had crossed her arms and urged him to take his medicine; he had mixed feelings about being babied by a child.
Word of his successful breakthrough had spread among his friend circle fast. Joaquin and Billie, as well as Henry and Rafael, had been visiting him these days with some others. To them, of a high-rank Knecht was someone to marvel at. Apart from that, the Perseverance faculty had also sent someone over to contact Locke.
Locke’s achievements made him stand out much from the rest of his faculty. Since he was still very young, he could be considered a genius in Princeton. Most mentors in the academy had stagnated after reaching his level. While he was in truth only a third-year student, his successful breakthrough elevated his status to that of a fifth-year student.
However, this didn’t mean that he only had a year left at the academy. Rather, it was a mere extension of his privileges, such as library accessibility and fewer mission restrictions. If Locke was willing, he could serve as a training instructor for the first and second-year knights in the next semester. He’d be well paid and could enjoy more networking opportunities with the elites. Though, knowing his limits, he felt teaching wasn’t for him. He wouldn’t be able to teach ordinary lessons as he had learned most of what he knew through trial and error.
By the fourth day of being bedridden, the Hall of Knights finally came as he had anticipated.
“Pleasure to meet you, Herr Locke,” greeted a middle-aged knight clad in a suit of brass armour.
“Hello.” Other than the middle-aged knight in brass armour, there were two other knights in black robes, all unfamiliar faces.
“I’m one of the deacons of the Hall of Knights in Princeton. I have come to extend an invitation to you!” The middle-aged knight spoke concisely and with great clarity. Admittedly, Locke was rather bewildered by the exchange. The man was obviously stronger than Locke, but he didn’t have an oppressive aura like Ritters, seemingly being somewhere in between.
Locke had been more or less made aware of the obligations of joining the Hall of Knights as well as its benefits.
“If you truly intend to join the Hall of Knights, please sign this contract.” The middle-aged knight extended his arm and manifested a white sheepskin scroll. Spatial rings were rare among nobles, but very common in bigger families involved with the Hall of Knights.
Interestingly, the Hall of Knights were pretty amiable when it came to recruitment. If a knight declined the invitation, the hall wouldn’t force it on them, let alone trouble them. Though, not many would turn away such an opportunity. Being a member of the Hall of Knights meant better resources for growth and well-rounded welfare. After Locke signed the contract, he’d receive a subsidiary of two hundred gold moores per month. This support would continue throughout his life, even in the event of disablement and diminished capabilities.
Aside from money, the Hall of Knights would also supply some of the potions required for knight training on a monthly basis. Knights that lived in remote areas tended to not have adequate access to necessary resources, prompting them to depend on the monthly supplies to maintain strength.
But of course, there was a price to pay. There was a mandatory mission requirement once every five years which all members had to fulfill. Failure wasn’t a concern, for it constituted a deduction of their merit score at most and even more powerful reinforcements would be sent to complete it. But rejection itself was a breach of contract, the consequences of which were extraordinarily difficult to shoulder.
There were a lot of terms stated on the sheepskin scroll. The Hall of Knights had existed for thousands of years, and they had contracts down to a fine art. There were almost no loopholes in its written conditions.
After Locke received the scroll, the middle-aged knight said, “You can discuss your concerns with Xith. I’m needed elsewhere so please excuse me.”
The black knight on the left followed the middle-aged knight closely, leaving behind the black knight on the right, who was presumably Xith.
Those from the Hall of Knights left as abruptly as they had arrived, leaving Locke with nothing but a contract. Judging by the various mysterious symbols hidden among its script, it was clear to Locke that the scroll was most definitely enchanted by some kind of magic.
“Please don’t mind Bharat, he has always been like this!” said the black knight after the middle-aged knight was out of earshot. He finally lifted his head, revealing his rather young face.
“Hello, I’m Locke.” He extended his hand for a shake. He felt that there was more than meets the eye about Xith. While the knight was obviously of the same rank as he was, he seemed like a rather competent high-rank Knecht.
“Hello, you can call me Xith.” Xith was very friendly. It didn’t take long for him to get chummy with Locke in Bharat’s absence.
Locke wasn’t stupid enough to not sign the contract. He had no interest in offending one of the strongest entities in the continent. Plus, the various benefits offered by the Hall of Knights was very difficult to resist. As Locke signed his name, he and Xith fell into an easy conversation.
“Bharat?” Xith was perplexed.
“Yeah. He felt like a very powerful knight.” Locke took the chance to pitch in some flattery. He could tell that Xith and the other knight were close to the middle-aged knight in brass armour.
“Well, of course! Brother Bharat is a ‘quasi-Ritter!” Xith guffawed.
Oh, a quasi-knight. It made sense to Locke.
A quasi-Ritter was basically a peak level Knecht. Knights of this rank were only one step away from becoming a Ritter. It could be considered as an intermediate rank too. Peak-level Knechts weren’t able to fly yet but they were capable of simple gliding instead. They were about as powerful as quasi major monsters.