Locke and Angelina politely refused Joaquin’s invitation for a longer stay, finally climbing into a carriage back to Princeton. They’d spent two days at her estate. Unlike their friends who could afford more rest, their schedule was packed. The Sanctum had given them an estimated stay of two months and they’ve yet to visit the Kingdom of Faustian. Time was running tight.
Joaquin, Billie and the others sent them off at the gate. They watched the carriage disappear into the distance, minds in awe with how fast time had passed. Before they knew it, everyone had graduated from the Imperial Academy and meeting each other again became more of an issue of fate.
Joaquin glanced over at Billie, whose mind seemed to be elsewhere. She couldn’t help being reminded of her predicament. Joaquin had her own problems too. As the only daughter of her family, she’d grown up smothered by her parents. However, her parents welcomed a baby boy last year.
The arrival of their son was miraculous. Joaquin’s father was met with an unfortunate accident years ago and was told that he’d become infertile. Naturally, her parents had channeled all their love to the newborn.
Joaquin had spent the last six months living on campus since she was working as a teaching assistant in the caster faculty. Her main task had involved offering lecture support and managing academic affairs.
Unlike Billie who’d used potions to advance, Joaquin was now a mid-rank Lehrling with her talent and effort. This was no surprise since she was the most competent one after Angelina among the members of their mission group. She was a stubborn aristocrat with a perfectionist streak. Her next goal was to be a high-rank Lehrling, or even beyond, as soon as possible to take her parents by surprise.
Locke peeled his gaze away once the estate disappeared into the horizon. “What did you tell them about Daenie?” he asked out of sheer curiosity.
Currently, Daenie was still in Botania and the planar war was meant to be kept confidential from the Zauberian public. While Joaquin and their friends were casters and knights, they hadn’t received clearance to access such information.
“I told them that Daenie is still studying at the Sanctum and she’ll only return to Princeton after she becomes a mid-rank Lehrling.” Angelina smiled.
Daenie’s safety amidst the planar war was nothing to worry about since her mentor was a level-one Magister. Plus, they were confident that Magister Carla and Ashar would help keep an eye out for their beloved friend.
Truth to be told, Daenie was already a mid-rank Lehrling since before the planar war; she wouldn’t have been able to join the deployment if otherwise. However, her advancement was aided by potion supplements, just like Billie. Daenie still needed time to adjust to her new powers.
Locke and Angelina got some well-deserved rest after arriving home since there were no appointments anymore. Instead, they brought Suzzane, Lia and the others to the Imperial Academy.
“So this is a floating vessel?” Glace paced around the deck, studying every corner of the vessel. Potion formulation was a branch of alchemy and the craft of the floating vessel had her hooked.
Apart from Locke’s crowd of women, there was a team of elite guards and Viscount Gage onboard. Locke and Angelina had to obtain permission for everyone’s entry via a painstaking trip to the main academic building.
The planar war had a huge influence over Princeton City, or at least that was what Locke noticed. There was a profound absence of high-rank Lehrlings and quasi-Ritters on the streets. Locke could only sense the presence of only one Ritter in the menacing academic building that he’d always found intimidating.
Once everyone found a seat, Angelina lifted the steering crystal and brought the floating vessel to a lift. It was a pity that they couldn’t bring everyone back to Faustian since the mansion still required surveillance. Plus, the smaller floating vessel could hardly fit them all so Angelina’s royal guards and another half of the elite guards were made to stay in Princeton. She’d promised that a new batch of royal guards would take their places and they could finally return to their hometown after six long years in Aomar.
The elite guards, however, didn’t require such consideration. The king had specifically chosen those who’d pledged their absolute loyalty to the king and most of them were orphans without any ties
A loud humming sound began to resonate from the vessel as it levitated towards the sky. Everyone on board let out a cheer, with Kristin’s being the loudest. This was Kristin’s first time on a flying magic vehicle and it was safe to say that she was completely blown away. The wonders of the floating vessel had inspired her greatly; she’d even ran off to meditate without any of Glace’s urges. Now, Kristin had even more interest in magic. She wished to delve deeper into alchemy, just like Angelina. Locke was very supportive of her dreams. He’d given her encouragement and promptly asked Angelina for old alchemy textbooks for Kristin.
Though the pile of books towered over her, Kristin was not the least bit intimidated. Her desire to learn was fierce, her stubbornness in this aspect on par with Locke; they’d never stop till they reach their goal.
With added fuel from Locke’s energy crystals, the floating vessel began to accelerate towards the south of the Aomarian Empire.
What used to be a four-month journey from Aomar to Faustian had only taken them four days to reach the City of Felor. Felor was positively bustling with life that day. The royal guards filled every street in the city with festive drummings. There was even a red carpet laid from the gates of the palace to the entrance of the city.
While the citizens of the capital assumed that it was a celebration of their king’s recovery, the shock of a lifetime appeared before them. A huge floating vessel hovered above them and came to a halt outside the city’s gates. Faustian was located far from the sea and there were only a few rivers that ran through the kingdom. The people of Faustian had seen many large-sized ships but this was the first time many had seen a floating vessel of this calibre.
“There’s someone on board!” A sharp-eyed citizen called out upon noticing the moving figures aboard the vessel.