Upon recognising the aged but familiar face amidst the crowd, Angelina’s nose twitched ever so slightly. She dashed forward, quickly enveloping the old man in a tight embrace. The Faustian king was just entering his sixties but the burdensome nature of governing a kingdom gnawed at his lifespan.
He caressed Angelina’s smooth cheeks with wrinkly fingers, unable to hold back the tears that came gushing down upon the sight of his daughter. It had been six years since he last saw her. As touching as their reunion may be, there were still many officials and nobles around. Margrave Shia, who’d been the king’s closest subject, quickly advised with a whisper, “My King, the princess has just arrived after a long journey. I believe some rest is in order.”
“Yes, indeed! Bring us back to the palace!” In that spur of a moment, the Faustian king felt energised. The return of his daughter had brought some colour to his face; he didn’t seem like the feeble old man who’d been suffering chronic sickness over the last six months. He ordered the convoy to begin their return to the palace, his grip remaining tight around his daughter’s hand.
Standing close to the king was Queen Consort Kent. Despite the beautiful consort’s past attempts to harm Angelina, her current expression was starkly friendly. Angelina, however, refused to acknowledge her stepmother. She pointedly ignored her to tend to her father while motioning for Locke and the others to catch up.
Locke sighed. The king’s welcoming parade for his daughter was huge; there was no way he could sneak away. His only option was to follow them back to the palace. Those that’d returned with the princess became the centre of attention. Viscount Gage was quickly dragged away into a crowd of aristocrats. Judging by their reception towards him despite Gage’s six-year absence, it was obvious that his future here was bright.
Locke too had gathered a lot of attention. The people of Faustian had started to pay attention to him ever since he’d left for Aomar with the princess six years ago. The fact that their princess was still very infatuated with the knight seemed to have confirmed their assumptions that Locke was as excellent as rumoured.
Even so, no noble had struck a conversation with Locke so far. This was odd since Locke too was an actual noble, with his title recognised by the Faustian noble council and senate. Everyone merely watched him from afar despite their obvious curiosity. How did he manage to woo the spoiled princess? On the other hand, everyone merely assumed Glace and the other women to be servants handpicked by the princess. Their beauty and grace were otherworldly.
The Faustian king was widely regarded as the Lion of Faustian during his prime years. Upon hearing his daughter’s calls to Locke, his expression turned unreadable. He then tried to occupy her attention by asking about her experience in Aomar.
“Kenzir has gone off to Runya Province for work. I’ve already sent someone after him to inform him about your return.” The king smiled at his daughter. Following the fall of Shalor, the territory surrounding the City of Audis was named Runya Province.
“That’s great! I heard my brother married Marmen’s older daughter and I’ve yet to see what my sister in law and nephew look like.” Angelina returned a sweet smile.
At the mention of his grandchild, the old king became even more excited. He began telling her interesting things that happened after the birth of his grandson. The Faustian king had fathered many children throughout his life. However, he’d adored his pair of children birthed by his former queen consort the most. Prince Kenzir was raised to be the successor of his throne while Angelina was made the pearl of the kingdom.
Truth be told, the king already had great-grandchildren. Just like how he’d favoured Kenzir, he’d loved Kenzir’s son very much too. The old king had been carrying the infant around the palace while he went through official documents
Fortunately, Kenzir’s son made the king’s adoration worthwhile. Though the boy was just shy of three years, he was already able to recognise his family members and call them by name. The young royal member had just begun learning simple mathematics under the tutelage of the royal tutors.
Locke’s heart drummed enthusiastically as the cheers of the people. As he paced along the soft red carpet that spanned across Felor, his mind grew excited at the thought of visiting home. Lia too was equally excited. It had been six years since she’d last seen their parents; she’d yearned for their presence very much.
Unfortunately, the siblings were destined to be kept away from their parents at least for today. The king was overjoyed and no one was allowed to walk away from his celebration. The palace servants had prepared a huge feast and aged wine for the occasion. There was enough booze and food to last a whole month’s worth of festivals. Locke wasn’t ignored for long, though.
“Hey, Locke. Do you remember me? I’m Melson.” A man with a huge belly squeezed over.
Locke stared at the vaguely familiar man, recognition settling in a few beats later. The man was Viscount Melson who’d helped him plenty back then. Melson appeared to have gained some weight over the years.
“Oh, I remember now! You’re Viscount Melson, right? How’s your Uncle George doing?” Melson was one of the only few nobles that Locke knew in Faustian, so he’d remembered him fondly.
“Hey, it’s Count Melson now.” The larger man in his finest court dress grinned. “And my uncle is no longer the commander of the Falcon corps. He’s currently serving in the senate.”
“Wow! I must congratulate him then!” While promotions in Faustian weren't as difficult as in Aomar, it still wasn’t easy. The fact that Melson was able to become a count within six years was a great feat.
“Ahem... Well, it’s mostly thanks to our familial ties. You should know what I’m capable of.” Melson was far from being aloof. He made a cheeky expression at Locke and resumed their conversation.
Melson had never dabbled into impetuses and magic. However, his gut sense was profoundly strong. Locke was giving him the same vibe he’d gotten from his Uncle George, who’d just retired from the Falcon corps. Locke was a high-rank Knecht and he was very reserved. He was just like an unsheathed sword with a blade sharper than his uncle’s.