Today, Angelina and Locke would leave the Kingdom of Faustian. While the couple was going to return to the planar war, Glace and the other women were tagging along on the journey. Most of them still needed to resume their studies in Aomar and Suzzane had businesses to tend to. She’d been gone for a whole month now; she couldn’t help but wonder if her establishments were still profiting alright. Lia and her parents shared longing gazes among the crowd. The look in her eyes was obvious. It didn’t require much for Old Locke and Tia to understand their daughter’s wish.
“Oh, just go!” Tia pushed her daughter lightly with a smile. The mother wasn’t startled by Lia’s decision since they’d muttered enough farewells last night. The old couple didn’t wish to add any more emotional burden on their children on the eve of separation.
A suspended ladder came rolling down from the floating vessel behind them. Lia kept turning back with every step taken, her parents’ faces growing blurry with more tears gathering in her eyes.
The other women on the deck welcomed Lia with wide arms. They’d lived together for years so they’d noticed that something was off with the siblings long ago. Yet, everyone had been tactful enough to remain quiet.
“Do you have enough herbs from Tia to last a while?” As if reminded of something, Glace turned to Suzzane.
“Huh? Yeah, I have enough.” The question caught Suzzane by surprise, she couldn’t understand why Glace would ask that.
“Oh, I’m guessing that you won’t have enough. Here, I have some extra. You can have them.” Glace began pulling out bags of herbs from her spatial ring and pressed them into Suzzane’s arms.
Suzzane could only laugh helplessly at that. Unlike Glace who wasn’t looking to bear a child so soon, Suzzane had been yearning for one. She wasn’t blessed in magic and impetus so she could only live as a regular human for the rest of her life. Now that she was turning thirty-one, she could no longer mask her age even if she used the best skincare ampoules from Princeton.
To be fairly honest, Suzzane wasn’t old at all and most of her insecurities stemmed from within. It didn’t help that the average human lifespan was quantified and Suzzane was well aware of her inability to train and cultivate. She placed her life in Locke’s hands and her businesses were mainly passion projects to occupy her free time.
Suzzane’s greatest wish was to birth Locke a son. She’d downed every single herbal brew Tia served and even asked for its formula diligently, even having plans to continue after returning to Princeton.
During their stay in Faustian, Suzzane had been visiting her brother frequently. Her brother had been brought here by Locke and had managed to land himself a decent job on Locke’s account. The man had later settled down and built a family. She’d left behind considerable wealth for his family; this was the only way she could offer some help since her next return was nowhere in sight.
Surrounded by a hoard of elite aristocrats, King Faustian and Prince Kenzir joined the crowd to bid the floating vessel farewell. The nobles couldn’t help but gape at the way Locke held their princess’ hand in public, which was an obvious declaration of their relationship. The old king and Prince Kenzir remained silent, choosing to train their gazes on Angelina instead.
The crowd watched the floating vessel grow smaller as it flew towards the horizon. The vessel was heading towards the southwest instead of the Aomarian Empire. Locke and Angelina needed to pay one last visit to Morphey Forest before leaving.
Morphey Forest reeked heavily of death, having been through the merciless massacre led by the scorpiondrake family over the last few days. The ground was caked with blood. Angelina pinched her nose on the deck, ever sensitive to the energies around her. She could sense the thick cloud of negative energy shrouding the forest, one that was emitted upon death.
This particular energy had been the focus of many casters at the Sanctum. They’d coined a special name for it, calling it something along the lines of ‘death mana’. Angelina had rarely come across death mana so she didn’t know much about it. She took in the harrowing feeling with a heavy heart and tugged at Locke’s arm and whispered, “Are we at fault?”
The major monsters of Morphey Forest were still technically native lifeforms of Zauberia and they were by no means enemies. Angelina felt her confidence waver. These innocent monsters were dead because of them.
“Don’t overthink it.” Locke patted her head gently.
Survival of the fittest had always been the way of nature. Locke wasn’t all that affected by the mass culling of low-rank major monster crystal cores for he’d long grown cold towards the concept of death. He merely mulled over how much of a waste their deaths had been. They would have served more purpose if they were brought to the Botanian battlefield instead. Sadly, he could only keep his thoughts to himself. The logistics involved in transporting such a large number of major monsters weren’t something that Locke could settle, after all.
The floating vessel stopped before the scorpiondrake’s valley to allow a few eldritch-looking scorpiondrakes aboard the vehicle. Under the frightened gazes of everyone else, six base-rank crystal Akanasds stepped onto the deck, making the already small vessel even more crowded than it already was.
King Faustian had provisioned two medium-sized groups of elite guards to Angelina upon her departure. Apart from offering around the clock protection to Angelina, the elite guards were meant to take over the duty of those that remained in Aomar. These elite guards were trained to be cold-blooded machines and yet, a rare display of fear and discomfort had bloomed across their faces at the sight of the scorpiondrakes.
Thankfully, there was a basement compartment in the floating vessel that provided a humid and cool environment that the scorpiondrakes much preferred. Four of them were moved to the small basement soon after. Angie, on the other hand, was returned to its usual spatial pouch. There was still plenty of space for a good nap inside.
Akanasd sovereigns, Adamyrs and Shiva, flew along the flanks of the floating vessel. The winged transcendent-rank major monsters looked like they were escorting their cruise, bringing a sense of security and also pride to Locke, who stood at the very front. Three dots in the sky flew towards the Aomarian Empire in the north. Locke and Angelina would soon rejoin the planar war.