The Ligia Union was located directly on the southern Faustian border. Since Locke’s hometown was in the southern Dor province, he was no stranger to the union. Jointly formed by a league of nobles, it had no kings nor elders. While each lord managed and developed their territory independently, they stood united against formidable enemies, making Ligia a force to be reckoned with. On another note, Faustian’s current queen consort, who was also Angelina’s stepmother and the sister of Margrave Kent, who was one of the lords under the Ligia Union.
“You’re from Faustian?” asked Laney, no longer speaking Aomarian but Ligian now. The differences between the Ligian, Faustian and Shalorian languages weren’t stark. With proper and deliberate enunciation, they were mutually intelligible and the slight local dialect or accent wasn’t too much of an issue either, as was the case with languages in the region. Incidentally, Aomarian was the proto language of many kingdoms, including Faustian. Faustian characters were mostly derived from Aomarian characters, which had their roots in northern Missia.
“Yes,” answered Locke in simple Faustian. His thick southern accent broke the ice and the sense of familiarity brought everyone closer. Despite being a quasi-Ritter, Wright was incredibly nice to Locke. Not once did the scarred knight belittle him because he was a high-rank Knecht. Wright was even impressed to learn that Locke had already achieved so much at just twenty-four years old.
Laney, on the other hand, talked to him about home. During the past few years in Aomar, she had no one other than Wright and Moss to speak Ligian with. Like a broken dam, she started a long rant about issues in the Ligia Union. At some point, Laney had gotten so drunk that she momentarily mistook Locke for a fellow Ligian. “Oh, right. Which dominion are you from again?”
Locke kindly reminded her that he was Faustian but that didn’t stop her ramblings at all. The only time with peace was when she took sips of beer. It was a fortunate coincidence that Angelina’s stepmother was from the Ligia Union; Locke had heard plenty from Angelina so it wasn’t difficult to keep the conversation flowing. As it went on, Laney began to show her true colours as a sappy drunk; she started talking about her private life. She clawed at Locke’s arm and cried about a failed relationship with a lord’s son during her younger days. Locke could only nod awkwardly and entertain her sorrow by chiding the cheating noble son as well.
Since their accent was heavy, the other spellbane knights soon dissociated themselves from the conversation. They weren’t from the southern territories so it was difficult for them to join in.
The shorter knight made a face at Wright and teased, “Wright, there’s something up with that kid and your sister!”
He then earned a powerful smack to his bicep.
As the sun began to set, Locke bid farewell to the spellbane knights. Sachiel Street was at the south of Princeton and it was a great distance away from Constantine Avenue and the carriage ride home would take at least two hours, so he'd better hurry.
The spellbane knights weren’t as wealthy as Angelina. While the Faustian princess could afford to rent a huge mansion for years, they chose to stay at a humble inn near the Hall of Knights. There was an influx of knights as a result of the call to arms, so finding accommodation near the hall was getting increasingly difficult.
Locke waved a random carriage down. “Lot 32, Sachiel Street,” he said as he got on. He had bought plenty today; half of his spatial ring capacity was occupied by spellbooks, a full set of experimental equipment for casters and of course, a spatial habitat pouch of a summoner. With Angie’s current size, using a specific spatial pouch to bring it around was ideal. Locke would be less worried about Angelina’s safety when they were apart with Angie there to guard her.
Meeting Wright and Laney had been a pleasant experience since their hometowns were around the same area. Since the date of their deployment was still largely unknown, it meant that they would be seeing each other more often at the Hall of Knights. Hence, Locke had the mind to exchange addresses with the spellbane knights. He even took the opportunity to ask for technical advice earlier.
Impetus projection was the hallmark of a high-rank Knecht and the first thing he should look to improve. There were a few things about it that Locke hadn’t figured out yet.
Surprisingly, the quasi-Ritters, Wright and Moss, offered nothing. It was Laney who latched onto Locke and gave him tons of advice. She had been tutored by her brother and Moss all this while so she was pleased to finally become a mentor herself today. Laney had been a generous teacher so Locke was in an impeccable mood. He was already itching to try her tips out as soon as he got home. While the Hall of Knights did offer specialized training halls and combat lessons, Locke wasn’t able to attend because of its outrageous price. At one high-rank crystal core per hour, most knights found it almost impossible to afford.
“I’m home!” Locke announced as he stepped into the mansion.
Before long, Kristin and the others came to welcome him. As Angelina would be off to the Sanctum in another month, he wanted to spend more time with all of them together and help improve Angelina's relationship with the other girls.
“Where’s Angelina?” He had been home for a while now but Angelina was still nowhere to be seen.
“She’s holed up in the alchemy laboratory running experiments,” answered Glace. Apart from Lia, she was currently Angelina’s closest friend. Time and her outstanding communication skills had made it easy for Angelina to open up to her. Not to mention, Glace’s interest in potion-making had even earned her the opportunity to help Angelina out in the alchemy laboratory despite being just a beginner Lehrling.
“I’ll go get her!” said Locke. He had finally found a solution to the scorpiondrake situation and he was excited to share it with his beloved.